Dec. 11, 2004
ATLANTA (AP) – Georgia Tech likes to run every chance it gets, but Air Force wasn’t about to let the Yellow Jackets play that style of game.
So, the Yellow Jackets had to show a little patience.
Luke Schenscher scored 15 points and No. 3 Georgia Tech overcame Air Force’s slow-paced offense for a 64-42 victory Saturday.
The Yellow Jackets (6-0) were forced into a game that was totally out of character. They attempted a season-low 40 shots and failed to make a 3-pointer for the first time since 1987.
“They definitely took control of the tempo,” Schenscher said. “We couldn’t run it like we normally like to do.”
But Georgia Tech still managed to dominate, leading 32-12 at halftime and holding the Falcons (6-3) to just under 28 percent (15-of-54) from the field.
“We come in knowing that we’re number three,” Schenscher said. “We have to show everyone why we’re there. We don’t look past anyone.”
The 7-foot-1 Schenscher towered over everyone, taking full advantage of the mismatch. He made 6 of 9 shots, had three blocks and grabbed eight rebounds, leading the Yellow Jackets to a commanding 35-22 edge on the boards.
Georgia Tech was averaging more than 63 shots per game. Air Force stretched out the shot clock on nearly every possession with its Princeton-style offense, but that merely kept the score from getting totally out of hand.
The Yellow Jackets were held to their second-fewest points of the season and nearly 16 below their average.
“It was unorthodox,” said point guard Jarrett Jack, held to six points. “If you start playing lackadaisical on defense, it kind of takes you out of the game offensively. It’s kind of hard to get into a rhythm.”
Georgia Tech attempted only two 3-pointers. The streak of 546 games with a 3-pointer was third longest in the NCAA, trailing only the current streaks of UNLV (574) and Vanderbilt (573).
“It’s not necessarily important, but there’s always a reason why things happen to a team,” coach Paul Hewitt said. “For us to only have two 3-point attempts was a combination of the fact that in the first half we wanted to go inside, and in the second half we didn’t pass the basketball.”
Anthony McHenry scores in the first half of the Yellow Jackets’ 64-42 win over Air Force.
Air Force was hopelessly overmatched in size and quickness. That was epitomized at the center position, where Schenscher held a five-inch, 40-pound advantage over Nick Welch, who still managed to lead the Falcons with 16 points.
He didn’t get much help. No other Air Force player scored more than six.
The Falcons were the antithesis of Georgia Tech, putting up more than half their shots from beyond the arc. They made only 7-of-33.
“Whether it was intimidation or just being anxious out there, we didn’t play our brand of basketball,” coach Chris Mooney said. “We missed a couple of shots, didn’t create as many opportunities as we normally do and that’s disappointing.”
Tech’s Anthony McHenry had four blocks, including one that he swatted into the stands on Matt McCraw’s drive to the hoop.
Air Force’s Tim Keller, a 6-3 guard who did most of his shooting from beyond the arc, tried to get inside a couple of times – with dismal results. Schenscher stuffed one shot without even jumping, then Theodis Tarver also blocked Keller near the basket.
Overall, the Yellow Jackets had nine blocks.
The Yellow Jackets managed only 16 points off the fast break, but they did get loose a few times. With just over 2 minutes remaining, Will Bynum drove for a thunderous, one-handed slam that seemed to release all the frustrations of playing Air Force’s slowdown offense.
Georgia Tech committed five turnovers in seven possessions early in the second half, allowing the Falcons to get within 41-28. That was as close as they got.
Other than a one-point win at Illinois-Chicago, Georgia Tech has won its other five games by an average of nearly 31 points.
B.J. Elder, with 11 points for the Yellow Jackets, was the only other player in double figures.
“We’ve got to remember who we are,” Hewitt said. “We’re a team that shoots the basketball. When we don’t do that, we look a little out of sync.”