7:00 PM ET, November 27, 2002
McCamish Pavilion, Atlanta, Georgia
ATLANTA (AP) -- B.J. Elder was feeling no pain when it was over.Georgia Tech's sophomore guard scored 24 points despite cramping in both legs, leading the Yellow Jackets to an 83-77 victory over Georgia (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 17 AP) on Wednesday night."He showed a lot of courage,'' Tech coach Paul Hewitt said. "B.J. did a tremendous job under some tough circumstances.''So did the Yellow Jackets (2-0), who overcame a 14-point deficit in the first half to snap a three-game losing streak against their state rival."This is a game we've been talking about since the first day of practice,'' Hewitt said. "It's a great win for our program.''Georgia (1-2) sustained another loss in its brutal early season schedule. The Bulldogs already fell to No. 3 Texas and travel to Minnesota on Saturday to meet the 24th-ranked Gophers."You hate to lose to Georgia Tech,'' said Jarvis Hayes, who led the Bulldogs with 20 points. "But it happens, and it's early in the year.''The teams played with uncharacteristic intensity for a November game. A raucous sellout of 9,191 helped set the tone for rivalry week, which continues Saturday when the schools meet again on the football field."If that type of atmosphere doesn't make this a basketball state, then I don't know what's going to do it,'' Hewitt said.Late in the game, Elder twice had to be helped off the court because of cramping in both legs. That didn't stop him from hitting four 3-pointers to rally the Yellow Jackets.With about 5½ minutes to go, Jarvis Hayes hit a 3-pointer to put Georgia ahead 71-69. Elder, meanwhile, hobbled to the bench with cramps in his left thigh.Elder returned with three minutes left and came through with the biggest shot of the game -- a 3 with 1:43 remaining that put the Yellow Jackets ahead to stay at 79-77.As the ball swished through the net, Elder collapsed on the court, grimacing at the pain shooting through his right thigh. He called an immediate timeout while sitting on the floor, was helped off again and didn't return.But his work was done."My leg is fine, but it started cramping up in the second half,'' Elder said. "When I hit (the last 3), my whole right leg cramped up. I knew that was it.''Georgia turned the ball over twice and Ezra Williams missed an off-balance 3 that would have tied the game with 15 seconds left.Isma'il Muhammad grabbed the rebound, was fouled and hit two free throws to seal the victory.Georgia coach Jim Harrick pointed to the turnovers and 19 offensive rebounds for the Yellow Jackets, who took advantage of their sizable height advantage.Georgia Tech also took advantage of its superior depth to wear down the Bulldogs, who went with a seven-man rotation."We tried to play pressure defense and keep the tempo up,'' Elder said. "We knew they only play a certain amount of guys. We wanted to keep the tempo fast and wear them down at the end.''Elder sat out Georgia Tech's opener because of a sore left foot. He wasn't rusty against the Bulldogs, hitting 10 of 18 shots from the field, grabbing four rebounds and doling out two assists.Williams had 18 points for Georgia."There's no panic,'' Bulldogs forward Jonas Hayes said. "We hate to lose. We just have to pick up the pieces and adjust.''Georgia scored the first nine points of the game, forcing Hewitt to call a quick timeout to settle his team.The Bulldogs built their lead to 38-24 on Jonas Hayes' bucket with 4:50 left in the first half. The Yellow Jackets scored the final five points of the period to cut the margin to 42-36.Finally, freshman Chris Bosh hit a 3-pointer with 8:43 left to put the Yellow Jackets ahead for the first time all night, 63-61.Bosh scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds -- the second straight double-double of his young career. Another freshman, Jarrett Jack, scored 16 points.
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