Jan. 8, 2006
ATLANTA (AP) – Zam Fredrick didn’t pause to consider what the shot meant. All that mattered was having an open look at the basket from 3-point range.
Fredrick hit the tiebreaking shot with 33.5 seconds left Sunday and Georgia Tech held on for a 60-58 victory over No. 11 Boston College, which went more than 11 minutes without a field goal and struggled to make anything from beyond the lane.
Anthony Morrow set up the 3 by driving the baseline, where he drew an extra defender. Georgia Tech’s top scorer spotted Fredrick lingering outside the arc and hurled a long pass to his teammate, who swished the open jumper.
“When I took that shot, I didn’t think about the situation,” Fredrick said. “I try to treat every shot the same way. I just knew we needed a basket and I was open. It just happened to put us up by three with less than a minute to go. It was a big shot.”
Craig Smith tried his best to carry the Eagles by himself, scoring 26 points. He tied the game at 55 on a free throw with 55.5 seconds left.
Boston College (11-3, 0-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) had a couple of chances to stay alive after Fredrick’s 3. Tyrese Rice missed on a drive, but teammate Louis Hinnant corralled the rebound to give the Eagles another opportunity. Rice tried a 3-pointer with Morrow in his face, came up short and Georgia Tech got the rebound.
Jeremis Smith made one of two free throws with 5.9 seconds left to essentially seal the victory. Craig Smith hit a running 3 at the top of the key – one of only five shots the Eagles made outside the lane – but it wasn’t enough.
“When you try to do everything you can and still come up with an ‘L,’ you feel bad,” said Smith, who went 10-of-13 from the field and played all but a minute. “Some bad shots near the end hurt us.”
Rice didn’t feel bad about his last two shots, even though neither went through the hoop.
“It felt good. It looked good,” he said. “I’m not going to shy away from a game-winning shot. If I make it, I make it.”
Jeremis Smith led Georgia Tech (8-4, 2-0) with 16 points and nine rebounds. The Yellow Jackets won for the fifth time in six games after getting off to a slow start with a young, rebuilding team.
“Today, we can have a little swagger about ourselves,” Smith said. “We’ve been saying since the beginning of the season that we were going to be a good team. But we’re just getting to the place where our expectations were.”
Morrow, who scored 15 points, wasn’t surprised that Fredrick made the biggest shot of the game, even though the sophomore point guard has struggled at times in his first season as a starter.
“I knew somebody had to be open, and the first guy I saw was Zam,” Morrow said. “I knew he would knock it down. He told me he was thirsty for that shot.”
Even though Boston College had won five in a row, the Eagles find themselves in an early hole in the ACC. They’re already looking ahead to a rematch against Georgia Tech on Jan. 29.
“It’s going to be payback,” Rice said. “We have to get them when they come to our place.”
The Yellow Jackets went more than 5 minutes without a point early in the game, and Boston College jumped out to a 21-13 lead on Jared Dudley’s short jumper in the lane with 9:06 left in the first half.
Amazingly, the Eagles didn’t make another field goal the rest of the period, going nearly 5 1/2 minutes without scoring and finally resorting to powering the ball inside in an attempt to draw fouls. They went 5-for-8 at the free-throw line in the final 3:40 of the half and trailed 29-26 at the break.
Boston College missed its first two shots of the second half as well, finally breaking its skid when Dudley slipped inside for a lay-in with 18:02 left.
The Eagles went 11:04 without a field goal, though their final shooting numbers (45.8 percent) didn’t look too bad because they managed to do plenty of scoring on dunks, layups and short jumpers.
“We were concentrating on stopping Craig Smith,” Jeremis Smith said. “I guess we didn’t accomplish that. But at the same time, we were playing good perimeter defense. I’m very proud of that.”
The Yellow Jackets focused mainly on stopping Sean Marshall (1-for-10) and Rice (3-of-9) from the outside.
“We had a good scouting report,” Fredrick said. “We knew who they wanted to get the ball to. We knew who their shooters were and who we could leave alone.”
Boston College was 4-of-16 from 3-point range. Dudley had 14 points and Rice 10, but no one else on the Eagles scored more than three. One of those was Marshall, who was averaging 14.8 per game.
Georgia Tech was more balanced, with six players scoring between six and 16 points. The Yellow Jackets also controlled the boards, outrebounding the Eagles 33-23.