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Ugly as ever, Georgia Tech finds a way

Gani Lawai had a team-high 14 points as Georgia Tech beat Oklahoma State. AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps

MILWAUKEE -- No one would accuse these Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets of being pretty.

There's nothing aesthetic about their approach. Georgia Tech is bigger, stronger, and more athletic than you, and they defend as well as their size would suggest. Offense? That's even less pretty. But pretty doesn't always equal victory, and as ugly -- and as frustrating -- as Georgia Tech has been at times in 2009-10, the Jackets appear to be peaking at just the right time.

After finishing second in the ACC tournament, Georgia Tech opened its NCAA tourney with a win over No. 7 seed Oklahoma State. Ugly or not, Georgia Tech is still standing.

"That was a really good team we just beat," coach Paul Hewitt said.

How did they do it? Step one: Get the ball down low and -- when necessary -- rebound it. With Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech has a size advantage against any team they play. This was especially true of guard-oriented Oklahoma State. Favors and Lawal got the ball low. They scored. And they rebounded. Simple enough.

Step two? Stop the opposing team's star scorer, James Anderson. Mission accomplished: Anderson scored a mere 11 points on 3-of-12 from the field, and his two turnovers down the stretch end up being crucial in the Georgia Tech win.

Step three? Get lucky. After coach Paul Hewitt called his last timeout with a minute remaining, Georgia Tech was able to get a full 35-second shot clock when it appeared Oklahoma State had stopped the Jackets.

"That's what it takes to win at this time of year," Hewitt said. "You have to play great defense, which we know we can do, rebound the ball, which we know we can do, and hope for a break at the end."

Georgia Tech got all three, and while it may not have been the most enticing game of the year -- and Georgia Tech, despite all that talent, is certainly not its most entertaining -- the Jackets are still here.