Dec 7, 2002
By JIM O’CONNELL
AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK – Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt was glad his team passed its last test before final exams.
“We have things we have to work on and we have time and we’ll get better, but we got a win here and that’s great for us leading to final exams,” Hewitt said.
The Yellow Jackets (4-1) rebounded from their only loss of the season, 64-63 at No. 20 Minnesota on Wednesday, by using their size up front. Georgia Tech’s front line measured 6-foot-10, 7-1 and 6-6, while Marist’s was 6-7, 6-8 and 6-3.
“I knew they would be tough and they gave us the most trouble we’ve had this season,” Hewitt said of Marist. “I’m just glad this stretch is over.”
The Red Foxes (3-2) cashed in on poor free throw shooting by Georgia Tech to stay within 38-35 with 13:08 left on a goaltending call.
But the Yellow Jackets took over on both ends, going on an 11-0 run that featured two 3-pointers by B.J. Elder and put them up 49-35 with 10:03 left.
Chris Handy scored on consecutive possessions for Marist to make it 49-39, but Nelson hit a jumper that started an 11-1 run. Isma’il Muhammad capped the burst with a breakaway dunk that made it 60-40, Georgia Tech’s biggest lead of the game, with 5:37 to play.
“We had to establish ourselves on the defensive end of the floor,” Hewitt said of the second-half runs. “We were letting them score too easily.”
Freshman Jarrett Jack had 10 points for Georgia Tech, which finished 9-for-21 from the free throw line, including 2-for-11 in the first half. Bosh was the biggest culprit going 2-for-8.
Brandon Ellerbee had 13 points and David Bennett added 12 for the Red Foxes, who had won two straight.
“We were hanging in with a great effort,” Marist coach Dave Magarity said. “I was encouraged when we were down three with 13 minutes to go and if we could have just made a couple of plays there but the basket closed up for us and they did a good job defensively of taking away what we wanted to do.”
Georgia Tech finished with a 46-37 rebound advantage, 20-14 in the second half when it took control of the game.
Hewitt wasn’t overly concerned about the free throw shooting.
“Sometimes they go and sometimes they don’t,” he said. “They weren’t trying to miss them. Again, I think that’s sometimes that goes to what these kids are going through as they get ready for final exams.”
“This has been a tough week, it drains you mentally,” he said. “We got through this and now it’s time to hit the books and prepare.”