Dec. 29, 2015
ATLANTA (AP) Marcus Georges-Hunt scored 20 points and fellow senior Adam Smith added 17 to help Georgia Tech rally to beat Duquesne 73-67 on Tuesday as the Yellow Jackets nearly matched the sharpshooting Dukes on 3-pointers.
Georgia Tech’s 8 of 18 3-pointers were surprising since the Jackets (10-3) were one of the nation’s worst 3-point shooting teams last season. But the Yellow Jackets rallied less by shooting from distance than by turning physical against Duquesne (10-3).
Georgia Tech had a 44-39 rebounding edge and held the Dukes to 39 percent shooting, including 9 of 28 from beyond the 3-point arc.
The game didn’t start that way.
Duquesne made 6 of 9 shots, had an early 16-11 advantage on the boards, and led 26-17 after senior guard Micah Mason buried a 3-pointer with 10 minutes left in the first half.
From there, Tech got gritty.
The Dukes made just 18 of their next 55 shots until the game’s final minute, were pummeled on the boards, and the Yellow Jackets blocked seven shots. Georgia Tech also outshot Duquesne from the foul line, making 17 of 25 to the Dukes’ 4 of 10.
Mason’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer in the first half gave the Dukes a 36-35 lead, but the Yellow Jackets took control in the game’s final 10 minutes.
”They’re full-throttle. They weren’t missing,” said Georgia Tech’s Charles Mitchell, who scored seven points and grabbed 10 rebounds to miss a double-double for just the second time in 13 games. ”But eventually we woke up, we snapped out of it, we got key stops and it took off from there.”
Smith accounted for four Georgia Tech 3-pointers and Georges-Hunt added a pair. That’s a big improvement for a team that shot just 26.7 percent on 3-pointers last year and ranked 343 out of 345.
Mason, whose 47.8 percent mark on 3-pointers entering the game ranked second in NCAA records, made 4 of 6 in the first half and 1 of 4 in the second half. His teammates hit 4 of 18 overall.
Duquesne entered the game making 10 3-pointers per game and trying 27, but fellow senior guard Derrick Colter scored just nine points. He missed all five of his 3-pointers.
”We kind of settled in and got back to playing Georgia Tech basketball in terms of getting some stops, controlling the glass, getting our break going, playing inside-out,” said Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory.
The Yellow Jackets turned the game with a 12-0 burst that included three straight 3-pointers.
Smith’s long ball with 7:20 left gave Georgia Tech a 57-56 lead, and the Yellow Jackets never trailed again. Smith added another 3-pointer moments later, and point guard Josh Heath followed with one more.
Sophomore Eric James had 11 points and 11 rebounds in his first start for Duquesne.
Four Duquesne starters played 33 or more minutes. Mitchell played 31 and was the only Yellow Jacket to play more than 29.
”In the end, I thought they wore us down,” said Duquesne coach Jim Ferry. ”Our guys fought hard. I thought our guys got a little bit run down.”
The Yellow Jackets led 72-60 on two free throws by Georges-Hunt with 58 seconds left before the Dukes scored seven straight points with the help of a Georgia Tech turnover, two missed free throws and a 3-pointer by Josh Steel with 15 seconds remaining.
Duquesne: Colter, who led Duquesne in scoring with an 18.6-point average entering the game, made just 4 of 17 shots.
Duquesne’s 67 points tied a season low. The Dukes were averaging 82.8, including a 67-65 win at St. Francis on Dec. 12.
Duquesne will open its Atlantic 10 schedule at home Saturday against conference preseason favorite Dayton.
Georgia Tech opens ACC play Saturday at No. 7/8 North Carolina.