Feb 9, 2003
By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA – Jarrett Jack got a chance to chat with his favorite player – then went out and played like him.
The freshman point guard scored a career-high 20 points, banking in a crucial 3-pointer with 39 seconds remaining, and Georgia Tech beat No. 8 Maryland 90-84 on Sunday.
The Terrapins (14-6, 6-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) have lost two in a row and gave up 90 points for the first time this season.
Jack was inspired by the presence of Stephon Marbury, in town for Sunday night’s NBA All-Star game. The former Georgia Tech star sat a few rows behind the Yellow Jackets’ bench.
“I talked to him before the game,” Jack said. “He told me to come out and play hard. It’s a great feeling. He’s my favorite player, and I modeled my game after him.”
The defending national champions will certainly tumble in the new rankings on Monday, losing again on the heels of an 86-78 defeat at home to Virginia.
“We’re human,” Maryland coach Gary Williams said. “People are spoiled. We’re a very different team this year.”
Georgia Tech (12-8, 5-4) continued its Jekyll-and-Hyde season by improving to 11-0 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The Yellow Jackets have yet to win a road game, picking up their only other win at a neutral site.
B.J. Elder led Georgia Tech with 23 points, including two key baskets that stemmed Maryland runs in the second half.
“He’s college basketball’s biggest secret,” Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt said of Elder. “That’s fine with me.”
Georgia Tech never trailed after a 14-0 run in the first half, stretching the margin to as many as 13 points before Maryland began chipping away. The Terrapins closed to a 82-80 on a 3-pointer by Drew Nicholas with 1:12 remaining.
With the shot clock running down, Jack banked in a straightaway 3-pointer to give the Yellow Jackets some breathing room. Good thing he wasn’t playing H-O-R-S-E.
“I called it afterward,” Jack quipped. “I had kind of a smirk on my face.”
Hewitt wanted his point guard to run a pick-and-roll for the chance at a closer shot, but Jack decided to put it up.
“Silly freshman, he just kind of went and did his own thing,” Hewitt said, grinning. “Good thing.”
The Terrapins couldn’t believe the ball went in.
“It breaks your back,” Nicholas said. “When I saw the shot go through the net, I knew it was over. The momentum was pretty much ours the last 10? minutes, but you’ve got to play 40 minutes.”
Jack, whose previous high was 16 points, added a free throw with 25 seconds left and Anthony McHenry finished off the Terrapins with an emphatic slam, posing for the crowd with 11.3 seconds remaining.
The student body stormed the court after the horn sounded on Georgia Tech’s most impressive victory of the season.
“When we come into this building, we’re more confident,” Jack said. “On the road, we’re a little tight.”
Nicholas led the Terrapins with 18 points after a terrible first half – two points on 1-of-8 shooting.
His performance was indicative of Maryland’s. The Terrapins shot only 33 percent (15-of-45) in the opening period and finished at just 42 percent despite going 20-of-38 in the second half.
Georgia Tech, on the other hand, was above 50 percent in both halves, connecting on 14-of-23 (61 percent) over the final 20 minutes. That helped to overcome 19 turnovers, a total that wasn’t all that surprising considering the Yellow Jackets’ youth and the frenetic pace.
Jack, the latest player in Georgia Tech’s proud point guard tradition, sparked the 14-0 run with his best basket of the game. He flipped in shot high off the backboard, despite getting knocked to the floor by Travis Garrison, and made the free throw for a three-point play that tied the game at 22.
Then, with the first half winding down, Jack picked the ball cleanly from Steve Blake in the defensive end, drew a foul on the Maryland point guard driving to the hoop and made both free throws.
Isma’il Muhammad had the most spectacular play of the game, however. The Georgia Tech player burst to the basket off a turnover and dunked over Tahj Holden, hanging on the rim for several seconds while practically riding Holden’s shoulders.
Ryan Randle and Nik Caner-Medley each scored 14 points for the Terrapins, while Marvin Lewis had 16 for Georgia Tech.
The Yellow Jackets were 25-of-31 from the free throw line, while Maryland got to the line only 11 times, making eight.