Georgia Tech’s Robert Carter Jr., left, is fouled by The Citadel’s Stephen Elmore during their game in Atlanta on Saturday. Carter, the former Thomasville star, pulled down 10 rebounds in Georgia Tech’s 73-41 rout of The Citadel to help the Yellow Jackets stay unbeaten at home and improve to 8-2 overall — their best start in years and far better than last year’s dismal first season under coach Brian Gregory.
ATLANTA — After a year without a true home court, Georgia Tech is taking advantage of playing in its new McCamish Pavilion this season.
Kammeon Holsey scored 14 points, former Thomasville High School star Robert Carter pulled down 10 rebounds and the Yellow Jackets (8-2) defeated The Citadel, 73-41, on Saturday to improve to 6-0 at home.
Georgia Tech played most of its home games at Philips Arena last season and neither the crowds nor the results were very good. That has changed now.
“I hope the winning streak continues,” second-year coach Brian Gregory said.
Marcus Georges-Hunt had 12 points on 4 of 5 shooting from beyond the arc in the first half and the Yellow Jackets held the Bulldogs (3-7) to 25.4 percent shooting.
“It’s starting to feel a lot like a home advantage,” Gregory said. “Our support is starting to gain some momentum. The crowd was a huge lift for our guys. You want to create an atmosphere where it is one of the toughest places to play.”
Matt Groselle and Lawrence Miller each had nine points for The Citadel. Stephen Elmore finished with eight points and 10 rebounds.
“I thought we played really good defense,” Gregory said. “We’re making some progress. There is no doubt about.”
Carter had nine points and Julian Royal added eight for Georgia Tech, which shot 43.7 percent.
“They’re going to be able to go home for a few days now, but they had some business to take care of first,” Gregory said. “They did it.”
Georgia Tech made of nine of its first 13 shots and led 20-3 before the game was nine minutes old as the Bulldogs started 1-for-10. The Citadel got within 22-10, but Georgia Tech then went on a 17-0 run and the lead was 41-16 at halftime.
“Those are the type of teams you have to get off to a good start,” Carter said of the Bulldogs. “You have to put them away early.
The Yellow Jackets’ biggest lead was 36 points with 6:19 to play.
“That’s a very good Georgia Tech team,” Bulldogs coach Chuck Driesell said. “Their defense really bothered us. This is a learning experience for my guys to come into this environment.”
The Citadel shot just 19.4 percent in the first half and was 1-for-11 from behind the 3-point arc at intermission and 3-for-22 for the game. Matt Van Scyoc missed eight 3-point attempts and was 1-for-13 shooting overall.
Kentucky transfer Stacey Poole, who became eligible after the first semester, made his debut for Georgia Tech and scored all of his seven points in the second half. He also had five rebounds.
Ten players scored for the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech played its second straight game without Jason Morris, who is battling plantar fasciitis. The junior wing, a key reserve, is averaging 4.9 points per game.
The Yellow Jackets have home games against Fordham next Saturday and UT-Chattanooga on Jan. 2 before opening ACC play by hosting Miami on Jan. 5.
Georgia Tech’s losses are to California in the DirecTV Classic at Anaheim, Calif., and at No. 10 Illinois.
Caldwell-Pope leads with 25, lifts UGA past Southern Cal
ATHENS — Kentavious Caldwell-Pope kept hoping that Southern Cal would keep using one man to defend him in the second half.
The Trojans didn't disappoint.
"It was shocking to me that they didn't double me," he said. "Most teams, when I'm hot like that, will try to double me or box-in-one me to try to stay close, but it shocked me."
Caldwell-Pope scored 12 of his 25 points in the first 5 minutes of the second half, John Cannon and Brandon Morris each added 10 points and Georgia beat Southern Cal 64-56 on Saturday.
Omar Oraby finished with 14 points for Southern Cal, which has lost 13 straight on the road.
Caldwell-Pope's jumper on the first possession of the second half made it 29-28 and gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game. Georgia (4-7) never trailed again.
"That's him," point guard Charles Mann said. "That's what we've been waiting for. He felt it and he kept shooting. We were giving him the ball. We believe in him and his confidence and (he) just kept on shooting and making it. "
After beating Mercer by nine points earlier this week, the Bulldogs have won two straight for the first time since last March.
"I told our players that we played 39 good minutes against Mercer, but that one bad minute came at the beginning of the second half," Georgia coach Mark Fox said. "We needed to come out of halftime playing well."
Eric Wise added 12 points for the Trojans (4-8), who have lost seven of eight overall.
The struggles that Southern Cal endured last season aren't getting any easier for coach Kevin O'Neill. With a 10-34 record since the start of 2011-12, O'Neill is trying to keep an upbeat approach.
Southern Cal was coming off a seven-point home loss to UC Irvine this week.
"When you're playing at Georgia right before Christmas, that's a hard game," O'Neill said. "I liked a lot of things that we did. It's a matter of us just putting this thing together at some point to give us an opportunity to break through and start winning games on a regular basis."
Cannon pulled down seven rebounds and Mann handed out six assists for Georgia.
Georgia was 2-for-12 from the field to begin the game, but the Bulldogs shot 61.9 percent (13 of 21) in the second half as Fox instructed his team to play more physically and get the ball to the rim.
Caldwell-Pope did most of his damage from the perimeter, scoring six of his 10 field goals on jumpers. Regardless of who was defending him, the sophomore guard from nearby Greenville, Ga., either seemed to have a good look at the basket or he found an open man.
The Bulldogs took advantage of some mismatches, too.
"Usually when they ran a screen, they would switch, and I had the big man on me," Mann said. "I would see a hole and take advantage of it."
Georgia played mostly man-to-man defense in the second half and occasionally used a full-court press to harass the Trojans into making mistakes or taking bad shots.
After Oraby's three-point play cut the lead to 60-55 with 3:02 remaining, Southern Cal couldn't get any closer. The Trojans took only two shots from the field the rest of the way as Georgia pulled down rebounds on missed 3s by J.T. Terrell and Ari Stewart.
Southern Cal finished with only 12 turnovers, but in the second half the Trojans hit only one of eight 3-point attempts and pulled down just three offensive rebounds on missed jumpers.
"We wanted to push the ball," Caldwell-Pope said. "We figured they were getting tired by the way they showed their body language. We just tried to push the ball and get some easy baskets in transition."
Georgia is off until next Saturday when Florida A&M visits Stegeman Coliseum.
Southern Cal's next game is Dec. 30 at home against Dayton.
Snaer returns, drops 30 to lift FSU past 11-1 Charlotte
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Michael Snaer is a senior on an otherwise freshman-laden Florida State team, and he takes that responsibility seriously.
Snaer rose to the occasion Saturday, scoring a career-high 30 points as the Seminoles held on to beat Charlotte 79-76. He hit five 3-pointers and made 9 of 10 from the free-throw line as the Seminoles rallied after trailing by five at halftime.
"I've said it before, I don't care what I have to do, if I have to drag this team kicking and screaming I can't afford to let us lose any more games," Snaer said. "I know I'm going to have to put the ball up, I know I'm going to have to force us to win. My attitude, my swagger on the court, I've got to let it feed over to the other guys."
Snaer, a 6-foot-5 guard and Florida State's leading scorer at 14.2 points per game, had missed the Seminoles' previous game, a 63-48 win over Louisiana-Monroe on Monday, for disciplinary reasons.
"He didn't get to play the last game, so he came out with a lot of emotion and focus today," forward Okaro White said. "He always plays with a lot of emotion, but I thought he was a little more vocal this game. When he gets off to a good start like he did this game, it gets us going and gets us behind him."
The Seminoles (7-4) trailed 40-35 at halftime but came out strong after the break and took the lead for good at 47-45. They went on to lead by as many as nine but could never put the 49ers away.
Ultimately, it took six free throws in the final minute — including two by Snaer with 11.8 seconds left and one by Aaron Thomas with 3.4 seconds left — for the Seminoles to hold on. Charlotte (11-2) had a chance to tie in the closing seconds, but Ivan Benkovic's 3-point attempt at the buzzer didn't fall.
"These are the type of games this team needs at this time of year because of where we are at this stage of our development," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said.
"I looked out there and at times we had four freshmen on the floor, and I was a little concerned. But I thought they stepped up, and obviously Michael stepped up tonight and was very focused, and I thought he gave the young guys a lot of confidence. Unfortunately, we need our veteran guys to step up right now while the young guys are growing."
Florida State also got 17 points from Thomas, including 15 in the second half, and 10 points from White.
The Seminoles held a decided edge at the free-throw line, hitting 26 of 34 to Charlotte's 11 of 17. Florida State was called for 17 fouls, Charlotte 25.
Chris Braswell led Charlotte with 20 points. DeMario Mayfield scored 16, Terrence Williams 11, and Willie Clayton had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The 49ers suffered their second loss of the season to an Atlantic Coast Conference team. Their other loss came at Miami.
"I thought Florida State came out in the second half and kinda set the tone, and we got away from our blueprint," Charlotte coach Alan Major said. "So the lesson to these kids in the locker room was, 'Always be who you are.'
"That's the one thing I thought, for 10-12 minutes of the second half, we didn't have a whole lot of defensive traction. But we fought hard and this is a game we can learn from."
The game was played at Time Warner Cable Arena instead of the on-campus Halton Arena, part of Charlotte's commitment to play bigger-name nonconference opponents at the home of the Charlotte Bobcats. The attendance was announced at 7,249.