Georgia Tech center Daniel Miller grabs a rebound in front of Georgia’s John Florveus during Wednesday’s game.
ATHENS — Brian Gregory gave his Georgia Tech players a history lesson and then issued a challenge to make history in their rivalry with Georgia.
The Yellow Jackets delivered for the first-year coach.
Georgia Tech took control with a dominant start to the second half and beat Georgia 68-56 on Wednesday night for the Yellow Jackets’ first win in 35 years on the campus of their state rival.
Georgia Tech won at Georgia for the first time since Nov. 26, 1976, ending the Bulldogs’ 13-game home winning streak in the series.
“I was 10 years old when that happened,” Gregory said. “I told our guys that on Monday. ... I just wanted our guys to understand one of the things that is unique and special about Georgia Tech is the great tradition we have.
“There are a lot of players that have worn that uniform and never won down here. Part of our process in getting it back is to do some special things, and tonight was a special thing.”
The series includes 14 straight games played at a neutral site, The Omni in Atlanta, in the 1980s and 1990s.
Jason Morris had 15 points, all in the second half, as Georgia Tech (5-4) beat the Bulldogs after trailing by seven points in the first half. Kammeon Holsey, Brandon Reed and Glen Rice each had 12 points for the Yellow Jackets.
“Our guys will be able to say they broke the streak, they were part of it and they’ll remember it forever,” Gregory said.
Gerald Robinson had a season-high 20 points, including 16 in the first half, for Georgia (4-5), which has lost four straight.
Georgia coach Mark Fox won his first two games in the rivalry, including at Georgia Tech last year. He called the loss “very disappointing.”
“We’re not a very good basketball team right now, and that’s my responsibility,” Fox said. “Our defense collapsed on us in the second half, but you have to give Georgia Tech credit. Their defense in the second half was better than our offense.”
Georgia held a big lead of seven points at 28-21 late in the first half. Georgia Tech began to recover on two baskets by Rice to trail 29-25 at the break.
The Yellow Jackets dominated the first 9 minutes of the second half, outscoring the Bulldogs 18-4, including 12 unanswered points for a 43-33 lead.
Georgia Tech’s defense slowed the drives by Robinson, forcing the Bulldogs to resort to long-range shots. Georgia made only 6 of 23 3-pointers and made only 17 of 49 shots (34.7 percent) overall.
“We did a better job of shrinking the court and not letting them get those lanes to drive,” Gregory said.
Robinson took advantage of his man-to-man matchup with Mfon Udofia in the first half by consistently beating the Georgia Tech junior on his drives to the basket. Udofia had two fouls in the first half.
“Mfon and Glen, I challenged those guys at halftime,” Gregory said. “I told them we need some guards to stop some people and they did a better job of pushing them out on the perimeter. There was not a whole lot of layups, a whole lot of points in the paint in the second half.”
Dustin Ware ended the 12-0 run with a 3-pointer for Georgia, but Morris answered quickly with a 3.
Georgia Tech’s big lead was 16 points. Georgia came no closer than nine points in the final minutes.
“It’s our goal to come out with a sense of urgency in the second half,” Robinson said. “We didn’t do that tonight. We’re just not there yet and we have to saddle up. We’re not doomed by any means. We can still have a good season.”
The Bulldogs’ first three baskets came on 3-pointers by Vincent Williams, freshman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Robinson. Georgia’s first 2-pointer came on a drive by Robinson almost seven minutes into the game.
Georgia continued to lean heavily on outside shooting in the second half, but the shots didn’t fall.
There were three ties early in the second half before a basket by Daniel Miller started Georgia Tech’s 12-0 run. Miller had 10 points and nine rebounds.
Miller, a sophomore from Loganville, originally signed with the Bulldogs but was granted his release from his scholarship when Georgia fired coach Dennis Felton and hired Fox.
Asked if beating Georgia was special for him, Miller said “Yes sir, big time.
“My dad, my grandfather, all my family are Georgia fans. I just had to go the other way.”
Caldwell-Pope and Williams each had 10 points.