Dec. 28, 2016
ATLANTA (AP) Kellen McCormick scored 12 points, all on 3-pointers in the second half, and Tadric Jackson scored 11 of his 12 points after the break to help Georgia Tech rally for a 59-52 win over North Carolina A&T on Wednesday night.
The Aggies (1-12) have never beaten an ACC team in 29 tries, and lost their 33rd consecutive non-conference road game, yet Georgia Tech led for just 10:36.
If not for the surprising heat from McCormick, a graduate transfer from Western Michigan who’d scored just five points in Tech’s first 11 games, the Yellow Jackets (8-4) might be heading into Saturday’s ACC opener against No. 9 North Carolina with scorch marks.
They’re smarting anyway after missing their first seven shots and 13 of their first 15, only to have to steal the lead late in each half.
”We avoided disasters,” said first-year Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner. ”Kellen McCormick saved us tonight, bottom line.”
Tech made five of its last eight shots in the first half for a 26-23 lead, but North Carolina A&T junior guard Sam Hunt scored 16 of his game-high 20 points in the second half. Davaris McGowens added 14 points and eight rebounds for the Aggies.
Hunt gave A&T a 30-28 lead on a 3-pointer with 15:10 remaining.
The Jackets were in trouble as their deficit grew, and center Ben Lammers – their leading scorer, rebounder and shot blocker – was in foul trouble.
McCormick stayed hot, and Tadric Jackson scored 11 of his 12 points in the second half – including seven in a 9-0 run that gave Tech a 50-45 lead when he was good on a 3-point play with 2:46 left.
North Carolina A&T wasn’t finished.
The Aggies cut that lead to a single point before McCormick’s final trey gave the Jackets breathing room with 1:29 to go.
”For 36 minutes, we went toe-to-toe with an ACC program,” said North Carolina A&T coach Jay Joyner. ”We’re a much better team than our record suggests.”
Georgia Tech will dive into the ACC with a brutal start, hosting No. 9 North Carolina on Saturday.