Feb. 24, 2007
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -J.R. Reynolds scored 25 points and Tunji Soroye had a key putback to help No. 24 Virginia beat Georgia Tech 75-69 on Saturday.
Sean Singletary added 24 points for the Cavaliers (19-8, 10-4 Atlantic Coast Conference), who got key baskets and three-point plays by Soroye and Jason Cain in the final minutes to secure the comeback victory.
With the win, Virginia kept pace with Virginia Tech in second place in the conference pending leader North Carolina’s game at Maryland on Sunday. The Cavaliers also clinched a critical bye in the first round of the 12-team ACC tournament.
“I’m not sure we could fight any harder than we did for about 37 or 38 minutes,” coach Paul Hewitt said. “We just didn’t finish the game. … Give them credit. They looked dead in the water with 3 minutes to go, and they summoned a lot of courage and came back.”
The Cavaliers led only briefly in the second half, at 50-49, but the Yellow Jackets’ never flinched. Young and Crittenton scored seven points in a 9-2 run that gave Georgia Tech a 58-52 edge. They combined for 14 straight with Young hitting two 3-pointers and a jumper and Crittenton making six straight free throws for a 69-62 lead.
Only 3:41 remained, but after Singletary hit a pair of free throws and Reynolds converted a three-point play, Cain scored off an offensive rebound for his second basket of the game to tie it at 69 with 2:25 left, and Soroye won it with his putback with 33.8 left.
Soroye and Cain also converted three-point plays in the final 6 1/2 minutes. The Cavs had five chances for three-point plays in the second half and converted them all.
Virginia trailed 45-39 with 16 minutes left before Reynolds hit a jumper and 3-pointer, then followed a dunk by Jeremis Smith with a three-point play, pulling the Cavaliers even at 47. After Dickey scored inside for Georgia Tech, Singletary also was fouled while scoring on a drive, and his free throw gave the Cavs a 50-49 lead
Then the Yellow Jackets grabbed control again, but not for long enough, failing to become the first ACC team to beat the Cavaliers at John Paul Jones Arena this year. They close their home schedule against the Hokies on Thursday night.
The Cavaliers got 3-pointers from four players in the first 7 1/2 minutes, took a 22-6 lead and seemed to be on their way to another blowout victory on their home court.
But the Yellow Jackets started attacking inside, Virginia didn’t have an answer on defense and stopped scoring, too. Georgia Tech scored 32 of the last 44 points in the half, got 22 of its points in the paint and outrebounded the Cavaliers 19-10.
Virginia went 6:44 without a point and had just four in the last 8 1/2 minutes while the Yellow Jackets scored 16 points in a row in one stretch and led 38-34 at the break.