0

COLLEGE HOOPS ROUNDUP: Georgia Tech women advance to ACC finals; UGA, Tech men end regular season with wins

Georgia Tech’s Tyaunna Marshall (15) and Tjasa Gortnar (41) react with their team on the bench during the final seconds of their semifinal of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament game against North Carolina State in Greensboro, N.C., on Saturday. The No. 15 Lady Yellow Jackets will now play for the title today against No. 6 Maryland.

Georgia Tech’s Tyaunna Marshall (15) and Tjasa Gortnar (41) react with their team on the bench during the final seconds of their semifinal of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament game against North Carolina State in Greensboro, N.C., on Saturday. The No. 15 Lady Yellow Jackets will now play for the title today against No. 6 Maryland.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Tyaunna Marshall scored 16 of her 20 points in the first half and No. 15 Georgia Tech claimed a spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game by routing North Carolina State 87-61 on Saturday.

Metra Walthour added 13 points for the fourth-seeded Yellow Jackets (24-7). They led by 36, shot 53 percent (32 of 60) and built a 53-28 rebounding advantage to reach their first title game since 1992 and just their second in school history.

“Yeah, it’s been a while since Tech has been in the championship game. But we’re coming in with the focus and concentration that we’re not just happy to be here,” center Sasha Goodlett said. “I mean, we feel like we have more goals to accomplish. So we’re ready to prove ourselves.”

Goodlett had 12 points and 10 rebounds to help Georgia Tech win its seventh straight and beat the Wolfpack for the third time this season.

The Yellow Jackets shot 69 percent — 22 of 32 — in the first half, and went up by double figures to stay during a Marshall-led 21-7 run late in the half that all but ended it at the break. Marshall hit four straight jumpers in a 2-minute stretch midway through that burst.

Myisha Goodwin-Coleman had 13 points, Kody Burke added 12 and Marissa Kastanek had 10 for ninth-seeded N.C. State (18-15), which never got closer than 18 after halftime. Foul trouble kept Kastanek, who averages 13 points, on the bench for much of the first half while the Yellow Jackets took control.

The Wolfpack, playing their third game in three days, couldn’t build on their 75-73 upset of top-seeded and No. 5 Duke in the quarterfinals. They were denied their third berth in the championship game since 2007 and their second since Kellie Harper took over before the 2009-10 season.

“I thought we ran out of gas,” Harper said. “I thought the energy level that we normally play with, we were trying. We were really trying, and we just couldn’t get it. Part of that is the emotion we played with (against Duke), and part of that is Georgia Tech making shots. And any time an opponent makes shots, it really takes the wind out of your sails.”


Morris leads Georgia Tech past Wake Forest 69-62

ATLANTA — Georgia Tech guard Jason Morris went to the film room to study the release of his shot, hoping to improve after a poor shooting performance a couple of days ago.

It worked.

Morris scored a career-high 22 points and made five of the Yellow Jackets’ season-high 11 3-pointers in Saturday’s 69-62 win over Wake Forest in the regular season finale for both teams.

“I could see I was pushing it instead of releasing it,” said Morris, whose previous career high of 21 points came in a Nov. 29 home loss to Northwestern. The guard made just 3-of-12 shots in Wednesday’s loss at Boston College, and missed all five of his 3-point attempts.

“I can honestly say I’ve taken that shot (on a kick out pass from an interior player) 1,000 times (in practice). I just shot with confidence,” Morris said.

The Yellow Jackets (11-19, 4-12 Atlantic Coast Conference) entered the game making just 22.4 percent of their 3-pointers in Philips Arena — their home court while Georgia Tech’s on-campus arena is being renovated.

The Yellow Jackets had a 32-28 halftime lead. But after Wake Forest (13-17, 4-12) took the lead a couple times in the second half, Morris pushed Georgia Tech ahead 49-48 on a 3-pointer with 9:13 left in the game.

Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory credited Daniel Miller’s inside presence to his team’s smooth ball movement on offense. Gregory said he was also pleased with how his team attacked the glass for rebounds.

“I don’t think he missed one shot when the ball went inside, and was kicked out, or when we ran an ‘action’ for him,” Gregory said. “I’m really proud of our guys’ effort, their competitiveness, their intensity . . . we forced 10 turnovers, won the battle on the glass (30-28), got 11 offensive rebounds.”

Georgia Tech limited Wake Forest to four offensive rebounds and registered 18 assists. That’s one less than the Jackets’ season high, at Fordham, and the most Tech totaled in a conference game.

The Jackets entered the game making just 22.4 percent of their 3-point shots in Philips Arena, which has been their “home” court while their on-campus arena undergoes renovation.

They made 8-of-17 from beyond the arc for a 32-28 halftime lead, however, and Tech took the lead for good when Morris hit a 3-pointer with 9:14 left in the game for a 49-48 edge.

The pass that set up Morris’ go-ahead trey came from center Daniel Miller, a reflection of the way Tech’s inside-out game was working. Eight Tech players had at least one assist Saturday, when the Jackets also tied their season low with just six turnovers.

“I don’t think he missed one shot when the ball went inside, and was kicked out, or when we ran an ‘action’ for him,” Gregory said. “I’m really proud of our guys’ effort, their competitiveness, their intensity . . . we forced 10 turnovers, won the battle on the glass (30-28), got 11 offensive rebounds.”

Senior guard Nick Foreman, who started alongside fellow senior walk-on Derek Craig, began the game with a 3-pointer, and Morris made all three of his 3-point shots in the first half while point guard Mfon Udofia hit 3-of-4 long balls. Craig hit a 3-pointer in the second half.

“They got hot from the 3-point line. They hit a lot of shots they’re not used to making,” said Wake forward Travis McKie. “And we didn’t rebound; those are the two main things that cost us the game.”

McKie had 23 points and 11 rebounds when the Demon Deacons beat Tech 59-50 in Winston-Salem on Feb. 15.

He hit a 3-pointer to pull Wake within 52-51 with 8:06 left in the game, but the Jackets pulled away from there. The Tech lead grew as big as 12 points before the Deacons scored the final five points.

McKie had just four rebounds Saturday and Tech out-rebounded Wake 16-11 in the second half, when the Deacons had just one offensive rebound.

Tech won the first half from the perimeter, and the second half inside -- as Wake missed suspended 7-foot senior center Ty Walker.

After intermission, Tech forward Kammeon Holsey grabbed five of his seven rebounds and Miller grabbed four of his five. Also, while the Jackets made a modest 3-of-9 3-pointers in the second half, Miller scored all 11 of his points and Holsey had seven of his nine in that time.

“The difference in this game was (Tech) had eight offensive rebounds and I believe 20 points in the paint (in the second half),” said Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik. “When we did get them to miss, they were able to get their second-chance points.”

C.J. Harris scored 17 points to lead Wake Forest, and Udofia had 15 points and five assists for Tech, which played without suspended leading scorer Glen Rice Jr. for the fifth straight game.

Georgia Tech and Wake Forest each expect to have low seeds in the ACC tournament in Phillips Arena next week.


Robinson lead Georgia past South Carolina 67-55

ATHENS — Georgia Coach Mark Fox has watched enough senior-day games to know what to expect.

“Oftentimes on senior day, the underclassmen have to win the game,” Fox said. “Some seniors are terrible. They are so emotional because it is such a privilege to play here. Some of them are terrific.

“Gerald (Robinson) was both today.”

Robinson scored 23 points to lead Georgia to a 67-55 win over South Carolina Saturday in the regular season finale for both teams.

Georgia (14-16, 5-11 Southeastern Conference) failed to score in the first 7:43 of the game as South Carolina bolted to a 10-0 lead.

“Gerald started the game in somewhat of a funk,” said Fox. “We had timeout, and I chewed on him. I don’t chew on him very often, but I chewed on him. Gerald really responded, and he did play like a senior after that.”

Malik Cooke led the Gamecocks (10-20, 2-14) with 17 points, and Bruce Ellington chipped in 10 points.

Fox started all four seniors, including career subs Connor Nolte and Matt Bucklin. That rare lineup plus the residual effect of playing at No. 1 Kentucky at 9 p.m. Thursday night contributed to the Bulldogs’ sluggish start.

“We started a lineup today with our seniors that until yesterday had never been practiced together,” said Fox. “That group had never been on the floor in those roles and it showed.

“We got off to a poor start,” continued Fox. “I thought we were a little bit emotionally and mentally fatigued from Thursday night and the quick turnaround. But that would not be fair to South Carolina to blame our start on that. I thought their defense was better than out offense to start the game.”

Darrin Horn, the Gamecocks head coach, agreed with that assessment.

“Early on we were moving the basketball well,” said Horn. “We were doing a good job defensively. The key was where they busted loose for a few threes, especially Robinson. He did for them what you expect a senior to do on senior day.”

“We did get off to a very slow start,” said Robinson. “But today was a very emotional day for everybody.”

“It was definitely emotional,” said point guard Dustin Ware, the fourth senior. “I think at one point I went through like every year, thinking about what had happened.”

South Carolina’s Cooke accounted for seven of the Gamecocks’ first 10 points. The Bulldogs appeared headed for another low-scoring first half. Sixteen times this season already Georgia had scored fewer than 30 points in the first half, including three games with fewer than 20 points.

Georgia finally broke through when Robinson got a steal and a layup with 12:17 to go in the half. That started a 6-0 run, but the Gamecocks pushed their lead back to 16-6 on two layups in 12 seconds by Ellington.

But the Bulldogs heated up in the last six minutes of the half, hitting five straight 3-point baskets during a 24-7 run that put the Bulldogs up 30-23 at halftime. Robinson, who closed out his Stegeman Coliseum career, hit three of those treys.

South Carolina had its own scoring drought in the second half, going 7:37 between field goals, though the Gamecocks did make four free throws during that stretch. Cooke scored on a short jumper with 15:09 to play to cut the gap to 35-33. The Gamecocks did not score another field goal until 7:25 remained with Cooke hitting a 3-pointer that made it 49-40.

Georgia’s biggest lead was 49-35 with 8:15 left when Donte Williams hit two free throws. A 3-pointer by Brian Richardson pulled the Gamecocks within 57-50 with 2:58 to go, but South Carolina could get no closer down the stretch.

Georgia hit 10 straight free throws over the last 4:05. For the game, Georgia hit a season-high 23 field goals. Entering the game, Georgia was 11th in the SEC in free throws made this year. Only South Carolina had made fewer.

“We have made more baskets in league play than our opponents,” said Fox. “We have had fewer turnovers than our opponents. We have won a lot of statistical categories all year long in league play, but the one we had not won was at the free throw line, largely because we are physically just a little bit immature up front.

“Today that was key for us,” Fox said. “We wanted to drive the ball and attack their switching defense with some plays at the rim.”

The Bulldogs finished the regular season in 11th place in the standings and will play the SEC’s sixth-place finisher Thursday at 10 p.m. in New Orleans.

South Carolina finished last in the 12-team league and will draw the fifth place team at 3:30 Thursday.