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Yellow Jackets Remain Undefeated

Dec. 15, 2004

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ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s offense was erratic for most of the game against James Madison. It didn’t matter, though, as the third-ranked Yellow Jackets’ defense excelled again.

Isma’il Muhammad scored 14 points and Jarrett Jack added 13 to lead unbeaten Georgia Tech to an unimpressive 72-47 victory on Wednesday night.

“We weren’t really clicking. We were just a little off,” said Muhammad, who was 5-of-6 from the field, but only 4-of-12 from the free throw line.

“We couldn’t get into a flow offensively because of their defense forcing us into some poor shots and some bad turnovers,” said Yellow Jackets coach Paul Hewitt, whose team is allowing 51 points per game, fourth-best in the country. “Defensively, we’re very good and we’ll get better.”

The Jackets forced 26 turnovers and the Dukes managed to shoot only 31 percent (18-for-58).

Despite the 25-point win, the Yellow Jackets (7-0) struggled from the field, especially in the first half. Leading scorer B.J. Elder, averaging 18.7 points, managed only four on 1-of-7 shooting in 25 minutes, while Will Bynum had 10 on 2-of-9 shooting in 28 minutes.

“We’ve got to pass the basketball better. When we pass the ball, we’re a very good offensive team, when we don’t, we have some trouble scoring,” Hewitt said.

“I think we’re getting better, but we need to do a better job of playing a complete game for 40 minutes,” Jack said.

Georgia Tech shot 36 percent (9-of-25) in the first half and finished at 47 percent (23-of-49) overall. The Yellow Jackets made only 18 of 35 free throws.

Ray Barbosa had 15 points for James Madison (2-4), which lost its fourth straight. The Dukes were 5-for-28 from the field in falling behind 30-14 at halftime.

The game was a matchup of Hewitt against former assistant Dean Keener, who is in his first season at James Madison after four at Georgia Tech.

“It was hard,” Kenner said about coaching against Hewitt. “He’s as good a friend as I have. I understand now what head coaches mean when you hear through the media that it’s hard to play friends.”

Cavell Johnson added 11 points for James Madison, which played without leading scorer Daniel Freeman (19.0), who has a foot injury.

Tech opened the second half by outscoring the Dukes 14-5 to take a 44-19 lead and James Madison never got closer than 16 points, the last time at 58-42 with 4:12 left.

Elder, hampered by injuries last season during the NCAA tournament run that ended with a championship game loss to Connecticut, had a previous low this season of 11 points against Air Force last weekend.

TOM SALADINO
AP Sports Writer

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