Jan. 13, 2007
ATLANTA (AP) — Freshman Javaris Crittenton scored a career-best 23 points, senior Mario West also set a personal high with 18 and Georgia Tech overcame a slow start to win its second straight in the Atlantic Coast Conference, beating Florida State 88-80 Saturday.
The Yellow Jackets (13-4, 2-2 ACC) fell behind 8-0 in the first four minutes, forcing coach Paul Hewitt to call a quick timeout.
But Georgia Tech, following up a 74-63 upset of No. 11 Duke, surged into the lead with an 18-4 spurt. Crittenton hit a 3-pointer to put the Yellow Jackets ahead to stay at 15-12.
Florida State (12-5, 0-3) trailed by as many as 13 in the opening half before closing to 41-34 at the break. But the Seminoles got off a sloppy start in the second half, turning the ball over on six straight possessions at one point, and never got any closer than five points the rest of the way.
Crittenton, a freshman who sure doesn’t play like one, finished off the last serious run by the visiting team. After Florida State cut it to 63-57 with two straight baskets, the point guard hit a desperation 3-pointer that just beat the shot clock, falling on his back as the ball swished through.
Thaddeus Young scored with a strong move to the hoop, then Ra’Sean Dickey stole the ensuing inbounds pass and fed it to Crittenton for a lay-in that restored the Yellow Jackets to a comfortable 13-point lead.
West, the lone senior on the Georgia Tech roster, also made a strong contribution with his rugged, aggressive style. Showing no concern for his body, he made spectacular plays at both ends of the court, most notably during a sequence with about 12 1/2 minutes left in the game.
First, he stole an outlet pass and tiptoed along the sideline, managing to stay inbounds before flipping the ball to Zach Peacock. West broke for the basket, taking a return pass and going in for a thunderous dunk despite being fouled, leaving the backboard shaking for several seconds while the crowd roared.
West went 9-of-13 at the foul line to help seal the win, beating his previous career high of 16 points against Tennessee State last season.
Georgia natives Toney Douglas and Al Thornton led the Seminoles, who knocked off defending national champion Florida in early December but remain winless in the ACC. Douglas scored 22 points, while Thornton had 20.
Florida State couldn’t stop the Yellow Jackets, who shot 54 percent from the field and made 10-of-21 from 3-point range.
Give much of the credit to Crittenton, who continues to shine in the ACC. He scored 22 points — his previous best — last weekend at Clemson and held off Duke by scoring 9 points in the final 3 1/2 minutes.
He connected on 8-of-11 shots against the Seminoles, his only misses coming from beyond the arc. Teammate Anthony Morrow made all three of his 3-point attempts and finished with 17 points.