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Yellow Jackets Pull Off Upset Over No. 24 Wake Forest, 90-77

Feb. 27, 2002

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AP Sports Writer

ATLANTA – Not starting turned out well for B.J. Elder.

A freshman relegated to a reserve role on senior night, Elder scored 23 of his career-high 25 points in the second half as Georgia Tech beat No. 24 Wake Forest 90-77 Wednesday night.

Winston Neal, a senior who had played in just eight games and scored one point, took Elder’s spot in the starting lineup and played the opening 1:13. It was the first time in 10 games Elder didn’t start.

“I got a real good rhythm in the second half,” Elder said. “I got things going pretty good.”

Tony Akins, the only senior who plays regularly for the Yellow Jackets (14-15, 6-9 Atlantic Coast Conference), scored 19 points and added eight assists and seven rebounds as they won their fourth straight and seventh of nine.

“It’s been a long journey for me, a long journey that seems like it lasted one year,” Akins said of what probably was his final home game. “It’s kind of sad, but things don’t last forever.”

Darius Songaila scored 24 points for the Demon Deacons (18-11, 8-7), who lost for the fifth time in six games. Josh Howard had 17 points in the first game since his technical foul for calling an extra timeout helped No. 2 Maryland beat Wake Forest 90-89 Sunday.

The Georgia Tech students never let Howard forget his error, either. Every time he touched the ball or merely stood still during a dead ball, chants of “Howard” or “Timeout” filled the arena.

Men’s Basketball
Wake Forest vs. Georgia Tech
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Georgia Tech’s Tony Akins drives to the hoop for the bucket and the foul.
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“I put that behind me then,” Howard said. “I had to put it behind me for the team. That’s all I care about is this team, and we didn’t do the job tonight.”

Craig Dawson, who had 27 points in the loss to Maryland, missed all five of his shots and was held scoreless.

Georgia Tech got a career-high 14 points from 7-foot center Luke Schenscher, who was 7-for-7 from the field.

“He did a good job of positioning himself under the basket,” Songaila said of Schensher. “When he catches the ball, there’s not a lot you can do.”

Elder’s total was the most by a freshman in the ACC this season. He had eight during a two-minute stretch early in the second half to give Georgia Tech the lead for good at 50-48, and scored nine points over the final 3:28.

“The thing that we’ve been trying to get him to do is be more aggressive,” Yellow Jackets coach Paul Hewitt said of Elder. “If he continues to be more aggressive, he can put up points like that.”

The Deacons were outscored 50-36 in the second half despite shooting 58 percent. They also made 15 of 16 free throws for the game.

“We gave up too many easy baskets tonight, and that’s a lack of defense on our part,” Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser said. “Their kids made a lot of big shots and played well.”

Georgia Tech led by 12 points with 4:18 left in the first half, but two technical fouls about 90 seconds apart helped Wake Forest score 15 straight points to get back in the game.

First, as the teams were heading to their benches for a timeout, Robert Brooks was whistled for apparently throwing a forearm at Howard. Then Hewitt reacted to an offensive foul called on Akins by waving his hands, and referee Jamie Luckie came running across the court to call a technical.

Songaila made all four free throws, helping the Deacons take a 41-40 halftime lead.


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