Nov 19, 2001
By KEITH PARSONS
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA – Pennsylvania’s Ugonna Onyekwe hit four 3-pointers last season, shooting an abysmal 13 percent from behind the arc.
Tell that to Georgia Tech.
Onyekwe scored 30 points and made all four of his 3-point attempts in the Quakers’ 79-74 victory over the Yellow Jackets on Monday night in the first round of the Las Vegas Invitational. Pennsylvania hit nine 3-pointers in the second half.
The Quakers (1-0) play Illinois in the second round Thursday at Valley High School in Las Vegas. Georgia Tech plays Eastern Illinois.
“You can see what Ugonna did with his summer vacation, it’s obvious he was in the gym working on his outside shooting,” said Yellow Jackets coach Paul Hewitt. “In our scouting report, we talked about him, and I told the kids we’re going to have to give him a step, and if he hits a 3 just blame it on me.”
Pennsylvania rallied from a 12-point deficit early in the second half for their first season-opening victory since 1997. Koko Archibong added 13 points.
“I think I was just in the right place at the right time,” Onyekwe said. “I was able to take advantage of any mismatch I had.”
“We were very fortunate to hold on at the end,” said Quakers coach Fran Dunphy. “I would have liked a few better decisions. But to get a win against a quality program like Georgia Tech is very good.”
Pennsylvania scored 13 unanswered points midway through the second half to take its largest lead at 71-60, thwarting Georgia Tech’s pressure defense with quick passes and pinpoint shooting.
“They tore our defense apart,” said Georgia Tech point guard Tony Akins, who had 12 points. “They put pressure on us, broke our press and shot the ball well.”
With the score tied at 60, Andrew Toole started Pennsylvania’s run with a 3-pointer, and David Klatsky followed with another 3. After Onyekwe’s layup, Jeff Schiffner completed the spurt with another 3-pointer and a 71-60 lead.
The Yellow Jackets got within four just once after that.
“We calmed down a lot more in the second half,” Onyekwe said. “We felt comfortable breaking their pressure, it never really bothered us too much. It let us get back in the game by getting a couple of easy baskets.”
Georgia Tech scored the first two baskets of the second half to lead 45-33 and seemed in control of a fast-paced game. But its defense stopped forcing turnovers and the Quakers slowed the pace.
The Yellow Jackets struggled with their half-court offense and was forced to shoot hurried 3-pointers.
“They just stopped us from pushing the ball,” Lewis said. “They doubled Tony and made him give the ball up, and when they do that, somebody else has to step up.”
Ed Nelson had 11 points and 14 rebounds for Georgia Tech. Tim Begley scored 11 for Pennsylvania.
The Yellow Jackets took an eight-point lead at halftime by forcing 13 turnovers. They also made 8 of 11 free throws to just 1 of 4 for the Quakers. Pennsylvania stayed close by shooting 54 percent in the first half.