Nov. 26, 2004
ATLANTA – B.J. Elder scored 23 points, No. 3 Georgia Tech started the game with a 23-2 run and the Yellow Jackets cruised to a 79-54 victory over Arkansas-Little Rock on Friday night.
Georgia Tech (3-0) had an easy time after struggling to a 60-59 victory at UIC on Monday. But the victory was marred by a sickening injury to freshman Jeremis Smith, who already was emerging as a key player off the bench. He went down with less than two minutes remaining, screaming in pain after he dislocated his right knee cap.
The Trojans (1-2) missed 10 of their first 11 shots and shot just 29 percent in the first half. Georgia Tech led 38-21 at the break and Arkansas-Little Rock never got closer than 13 in the second half.
After Brandon Freeman’s jumper made it 5-2, the Yellow Jackets scored 18 in a row. Isma’il Muhammad was unstoppable on the inside, scoring seven points, while Elder, Jarrett Jack and Anthony Morrow all chipped in with 3-pointers.
Arkansas-Little Rock played two of the nation’s top teams this week, losing 90-65 at No. 6 Oklahoma State on Tuesday. Brandon Freeman led the Trojans with 18 points.
Muhammad scored 13 for the Yellow Jackets, while Will Bynum (11) and Jack (10) also cracked double-figures. Georgia Tech used 13 players and gave extended time to a couple of freshmen, Smith and Morrow.
But Smith wasn’t around at the end. With just 1:24 remaining and Georgia Tech leading 77-52, Zack Wright drove toward the basket for Arkansas-Little Rock.
Smith moved over to defend but landed awkwardly on his right knee, collapsing to the court. A hush fell over the crowd when the youngster screamed in agony.
A wheelchair was brought on the court, but Smith was unable to get off the floor. Finally, four teammates came out to lift him onto a stretcher and Smith was wheeled away as a trainer held the grotesquely distorted knee.
With a mood much more somber, Georgia Tech finished out its 17th straight victory over a non-conference opponent at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
The Yellow Jackets are 136-8 in those games since 1982.
By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer