ATLANTA (AP) — Iman Shumpert said Tuesday Georgia Tech is learning from last week's shocking loss to Kennesaw State.
But it was a painful lesson.
Since opening its season with an unexpected 80-63 loss at Kennesaw State, Georgia Tech has notched comfortable wins over Albany and Niagra.
The Yellow Jackets (2-1) play Texas El-Paso on Friday in Atlantic City, N.J., in the Legends Classic.
Shumpert and coach Paul Hewitt said the Yellow Jackets have responded positively after the humiliating loss to Kennesaw State, a new addition to the Atlantic Sun Conference.
"It was actually good that they pounced on us like they did," Shumpert said. "It was a big wake-up call for everybody. We responded in a positive way, even though that was a big negative. I'm glad everybody is going hard.
"Everybody is not hanging their heads."
Shumpert said the setback taught Georgia Tech never to come out sluggish.
"Don't come out assuming you're going to get a win, assuming anybody is going to give you a win," he said.
Georgia Tech lost forwards Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal to the NBA from the 2009-10 team which won 23 games, including one win in the NCAA tournament.
Last season's freshman class, headed by Favors, raised expectations, but the Yellow Jackets finished only 7-9 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. It was a reminder Hewitt has managed only one winning ACC record — 9-7 in the 2003-04 Final Four season — in his decade in Atlanta.
The Yellow Jackets finished last in the ACC at 2-14 two years ago.
The next week could reveal more about Hewitt's 2010-11 team.
Texas-El Paso, led by high-scoring guard Randy Culpepper, won the Conference USA regular season title last season. Then comes a game against either Michigan or Syracuse in Atlantic City on Saturday, followed by a visit to Northwestern next week in the ACC-Big Ten Classic.
Hewitt had an optimistic outlook on Tuesday.
"No question the competition steps up," Hewitt said. "I think we have a good idea of who we are in terms of what we have to do to be successful. I thought the first half of the last two games we played some pretty good basketball."
Hewitt said his young team needs more experience to improve in "understanding how we play and being more focused, possession by possession."
Shumpert, a junior shooting guard, leads the team with his average of 15.3 points per game.
Shumpert acknowledged the team is adjusting defensively.
"We know what we need to work on," Shumpert said. "We've got to defend the ball better. We've got to keep the ball out of the paint, do our best to guard the post, just go out and play the way we play."
He said the Yellow Jackets can't look back.
"We can't worry about what we lost," he said. "Or else we're going to lose a lot more."