2nd-half spurt helps Georgia Tech hold off NC State 90-83
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Marcus Georges-Hunt and his Georgia Tech had spent the past month struggling to hold onto leads and watching winnable Atlantic Coast Conference games turn into frustrating losses.
On Wednesday night, the Yellow Jackets nearly did it again before figuring out a way to take back momentum.
Georges-Hunt scored 26 points - including a five-point possession that started the decisive second-half run - to help Georgia Tech beat North Carolina State 90-83, snapping a three-game skid and giving the Yellow Jackets their first league road win.
Georgia Tech (12-8, 2-5) led by at least eight in three league losses and blew a 10-point lead in the closing minutes of a 78-77 home loss to Virginia Tech. And on Wednesday, the Yellow Jackets watched the Wolfpack (11-10, 1-7) close a 14-point gap to a point midway through the second half.
But the Yellow Jackets answered with a 15-1 burst that pushed the lead back to double figures against an N.C. State team relying almost entirely a two-man attack with Anthony ''Cat'' Barber and Abdul-Malik Abu.
''We've been in the position before,'' Georges-Hunt said. ''Sometimes you see folks looking around, looking to see what's going to happen next. I just told them, `Believe, value each possession and take care of what we have to take care of, and everything will pay off.'''
The run started with Georges-Hunt scoring over BeeJay Anya while being fouled at the 10:32 mark. Then official Brian Kersey whistled Abu after he slammed the ball to the court in frustration.
Georges-Hunt made the two technical free throws, followed by another to complete his three-point play to increase the lead to 59-53 in one game-turning sequence.
''After some of the stuff we've been through, I'm going to be honest with you, I didn't mind it at all,'' coach Brian Gregory said.
As Georgia Tech eventually upped the margin to 69-54, N.C. State missed eight straight shots and went 4 1/2 minutes without a basket.
Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried called Abu's technical ''a costly mistake,'' one part of a night that left the fifth-year coach fuming at what he described as a lack of first-half effort.
Barber, the ACC's leading scorer at 22.1 points, scored 36 points on 13-for-27 shooting. Abu added a career-high 22 points to go with 11 rebounds for N.C. State, off to the program's worst ACC start since going 0-8 in the 1996-97 season.
''If I'm in a fight down in the back alley, you might whip me, but ... you're going to be tired at the end of it,'' Gottfried said. ''You ain't going to whip me easy. This team has got to figure that out.
''It's something that they've got to sit down and talk to each other about, each individual. I don't like where we are. They don't like where we are.''
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets' five ACC losses came by a combined 26 points. ... Georgia Tech shot 36 percent after halftime but made 23 of 28 free throws. ... Georgia Tech finished with a 43-35 rebounding advantage.
N.C. State: Freshman Maverick Rowan scored 13 points. ... N.C. State shot 45 percent and made 19 of 24 free throws. ... The Wolfpack had won five straight in the series since last losing to the Yellow Jackets in January 2012.
While Georges-Hunt led the scoring, fellow senior Nick Jacobs finished with 20 points and seven rebounds, while graduate transfer Adam Smith also scored 20.
''That's what we need,'' Gregory said of his seniors. ''Those guys need to carry us to be honest with you, and Marcus and Adam and Nick did exactly that.''
Georgia Tech travels to Syracuse on Saturday.
N.C. State hosts No. 15 Miami on Saturday.
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