March 8, 2008
BOSTON (AP) – Jeremis Smith had 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead Georgia Tech to an 86-78 victory over Boston College on Saturday as the two schools finished their regular season and prepared for the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Georgia Tech (14-16, 7-9) finished in seventh place in the conference heading into next week’s tournament in Charlotte, N.C., and will face No. 10 Virginia in the opening round at 7 p.m. Thursday night.
Boston College (13-16, 4-12) lost its last six games and 12 of its last 13 to drop into 11th (with a tiebreaker edge over North Carolina State) in the 12-team ACC.
Tyrese Rice scored 17 with eight assists for the Eagles, who had earned a NCAA tournament berth in four consecutive seasons. Unless they win the ACC tournament – a tall task with top-ranked North Carolina and No. 6 Duke in the way – that streak will almost certainly end.
Using a fullcourt press, Georgia Tech forced BC into 20 turnovers. Rice turned the ball over five times, and Biko Paris also had five turnovers as the Yellow Jackets turned the BC mistakes into 30 points.
Georgia Tech took a nine-point lead, 32-23, on Lewis Clinch’s 3-pointer with 4:31 left in the first half. But BC scored 10 of the next 11 points – six of them by Rice – to tie it, then took a short-lived lead with 49 seconds left in the half.
The Eagles couldn’t hold on in the second, though.
BC led 47-46 when Zach Peacock, who scored 18, made a layup to start an 11-2 run. Anthony Morrow hit a 3-pointer with 9:22 left to give the Yellow Jackets their first double-digit lead of the game, 62-52.
It was 76-60 before BC began shooting 3-pointers and fouling, a technique that allowed them to cut the deficit to six points, 82-76, with 24 seconds left.
Corey Raji had 17 points and seven rebounds for BC.