Georgia Tech guard Adam Smith is pulled up from the floor by Tadric Jackson after he hit a 2-pointer and was fouled during an NCAA college basketball game against Houston in the first round of the NIT on Wednesday, March 16, 2016, in Atlanta. (Curtis Comp
AP Photo
March 16, 2016

ATLANTA (AP) Adam Smith scored 20 points and Georgia Tech pulled away in the second half to beat Houston 81-62 on Wednesday night in an opening-round NIT game.

Marcus Georges-Hunt had 19 points and Charles Mitchell had 12 for Georgia Tech (20-14), which will play at South Carolina in the second round on Monday night.

Devonta Pollard led Houston (22-10) with 21 points. Damyean Dotson had 14. Rob Gray Jr., who averages a team-leading 16.3 points, had only nine. The Cougars made only 2 of 13 3-pointers.

Georgia Tech led 41-32 at halftime and kept the lead in double figures after Georges-Hunt made two free throws to open the second half.

The Yellow Jackets, who have won seven of nine, are playing in the postseason for the first time in five seasons with coach Brian Gregory.

The Cougars improved from a 13-19 finish last season but couldn't keep pace with the hot-shooting Yellow Jackets, who shot 52.5 percent (32 of 61) from the field. Georgia Tech also dominated the boards with a 39-25 advantage in rebounds.

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