Jan. 8, 2005
ATLANTA – Jarrett Jack scored 22 points, several unlikely teammates made big contributions and No. 9 Georgia Tech dominated the second half in a 92-69 victory over Virginia on Saturday night.
The Yellow Jackets (11-2, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) led by as many as 32 points and outscored the Cavaliers 48-31 in the final 20 minutes – a striking turnaround from the first half.
There were seven lead changes and five ties in the opening period, but Georgia Tech began to gain the upper hand in the waning minutes. The Yellow Jackets closed with a 14-6 spurt, going to the locker room with their biggest lead of the game to that point, 44-38.
It got much worse for Virginia (9-3, 0-2) in the second half. The Cavaliers made only 11-of-40 shots the rest of the way and finished at just under 30 percent from the field.
Georgia Tech’s defense was stifling. Luke Schenscher had five of his team’s 12 blocks – one short of the school record for an ACC game.
It didn’t help that Virginia was missing its leading scorer. Devin Smith, averaging 17.4 points per game, sat out his third straight contest because of an ailing ankle.
But Georgia Tech also was missing a key player and didn’t miss a beat. With B.J. Elder (who averages more than 13 points) sitting out his second game in a row because of a hamstring injury, three players stepped up big.
Senior Anthony McHenry, the lowest-scoring starter, tied his career high with 13 points and had three blocks. Freshmen Ra’Sean Dickey and Anthony Morrow, coming off the bench, ensured that Elder’s absence was barely noticed.
Dickey had 13 points – scoring on four of his first five possessions – to go along with two blocks and a steal. Keeping pace, Morrow was fearless from the outside, hitting three shots from beyond the 3-point arc to also finish with 13 points. He also had five rebounds and two blocks before fouling out.
Jack just played his normal game. He went 5-of-7 from 3-point range, doled out seven assists and kept the freshmen under control when things got a little helter-skelter in the second half.
The Yellow Jackets got a scare near the end of the game when Dickey went down. But he managed to limp off the court, favoring his right leg.
J.R. Reynolds led Virginia with 21 points.
Georgia Tech, which reached the NCAA championship game last season, responded to an impressive performance by ACC rival North Carolina.
The third-ranked Tar Heels routed No. 22 Maryland 109-75 earlier in the day. The Yellow Jackets were nearly as sharp in their victory, setting up a showdown in Chapel Hill on Wednesday – the only regular-season meeting between the powerhouses.
Georgia Tech hasn’t had much trouble with Virginia, winning 16 of the last 20 meetings – including nine of 10 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
AP Sports Writer