By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) – Drew Nicholas scored a career-high 29 points and Ryan Randle led a second-half charge as No. 23 Maryland opened defense of its Atlantic Coast Conference title by beating Georgia Tech 84-77 Sunday.
Randle scored 16 of his 20 points after halftime, helping the Terrapins (6-3, 1-0) escape with their ninth straight home victory over the Yellow Jackets.
Maryland, which captured the ACC regular-season title last year on the way to its first national championship, has won a school-record 13 straight conference games.
Maryland was clinging to a 52-51 lead before Randle made a follow shot and a dunk in a 6-0 run. Minutes later, Randle hit a 10-foot jumper and Nicholas scored on a drive to make it 69-64 with 5:29 left.
After a Georgia Tech free throw, Nicholas hit a 3-pointer and Randle scored from the baseline to give the Terrapins a nine-point cushion with three minutes remaining.
Maryland outscored Georgia Tech 12-1 at the line in taking a 36-30 halftime lead. The Terrapins trailed 28-25 before Nik Caner-Medley scored five points in a 9-0 run that put Maryland in front.
After the margin reached seven points early in the second half, the Yellow Jackets used a 12-4 run to take a 48-47 lead with 14:54 left.
Nicholas then scored from beyond the arc to put Maryland ahead for good.
Playing their first game in eight days, the Yellow Jackets looked more fresh than rusty in the opening minutes. Bosh scored off the glass and then on a drive to cap a 6-0 run that put Georgia Tech up 11-4.
But Nicholas scored seven points and Tahj Holden had five in a 16-6 surge that gave Maryland its first lead, 20-17, midway through the half.
Holden, who missed the Terrapins’ last game because of a death in the family, did not start for the first time this season. The senior forward finished with 11 points.
Maryland was without senior guard Calvin McCall, who was in street clothes after spraining his left ankle in practice Saturday.