ATLANTA (AP) -- Jarrett Jack got a chance to chat with his
favorite player -- then went out and played like him.
The freshman point guard scored a career-high 20 points, banking
in a crucial 3-pointer with 39 seconds remaining, and Georgia Tech
beat No. 8 Maryland 90-84 on Sunday.
The Terrapins (14-6, 6-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) have lost
two in a row and gave up 90 points for the first time this season.
Jack was inspired by the presence of Stephon Marbury, in town
for Sunday night's NBA All-Star game. The former Georgia Tech star
sat a few rows behind the Yellow Jackets' bench.
"I talked to him before the game," Jack said. "He told me to
come out and play hard. It's a great feeling. He's my favorite
player, and I modeled my game after him."
The defending national champions will certainly tumble in the
new rankings Monday, losing again on the heels of an 86-78
defeat at home to Virginia.
"We're human," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "People are
spoiled. We're a very different team this year."
Georgia Tech (12-8, 5-4) continued its Jekyll-and-Hyde season by
improving to 11-0 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The Yellow
Jackets have yet to win a road game, picking up their only other
win at a neutral site.
B.J. Elder led Georgia Tech with 23 points, including two key
baskets that stemmed Maryland runs in the second half.
"He's college basketball's biggest secret," Georgia Tech coach
Paul Hewitt said of Elder. "That's fine with me."
Georgia Tech never trailed after a 14-0 run in the first half,
stretching the margin to as many as 13 points before Maryland began
chipping away. The Terrapins closed to a 82-80 on a 3-pointer by
Drew Nicholas with 1:12 remaining.
With the shot clock running down, Jack banked in a straightaway
3-pointer to give the Yellow Jackets some breathing room. Good
thing he wasn't playing H-O-R-S-E.
"I called it afterward," Jack quipped. "I had kind of a smirk
on my face."
Hewitt wanted his point guard to run a pick-and-roll for the
chance at a closer shot, but Jack decided to put it up.
"Silly freshman, he just kind of went and did his own thing,"
Hewitt said, grinning. "Good thing."
The Terrapins couldn't believe the ball went in.
"It breaks your back," Nicholas said. "When I saw the shot go
through the net, I knew it was over. The momentum was pretty much
ours the last 10½ minutes, but you've got to play 40 minutes."
Jack, whose previous high was 16 points, added a free throw with
25 seconds left and Anthony McHenry finished off the Terrapins with
an emphatic slam, posing for the crowd with 11.3 seconds remaining.
The student body stormed the court after the horn sounded on
Georgia Tech's most impressive victory of the season.
"When we come into this building, we're more confident," Jack
said. "On the road, we're a little tight."
Nicholas led the Terrapins with 18 points after a terrible first
half -- two points on 1-of-8 shooting.
His performance was indicative of Maryland's. The Terrapins shot
only 33 percent (15-of-45) in the opening period and finished at
just 42 percent despite going 20-of-38 in the second half.
Georgia Tech, on the other hand, was above 50 percent in both
halves, connecting on 14-of-23 (61 percent) over the final 20
minutes. That helped to overcome 19 turnovers, a total that wasn't
all that surprising considering the Yellow Jackets' youth and the
Jack, the latest player in Georgia Tech's proud point guard
tradition, sparked the 14-0 run with his best basket of the game.
He flipped in shot high off the backboard, despite getting knocked
to the floor by Travis Garrison, and made the free throw for a
three-point play that tied the game at 22.
Then, with the first half winding down, Jack picked the ball
cleanly from Steve Blake in the defensive end, drew a foul on the
Maryland point guard driving to the hoop and made both free throws.
Isma'il Muhammad had the most spectacular play of the game,
however. The Georgia Tech player burst to the basket off a turnover
and dunked over Tahj Holden, hanging on the rim for several seconds
while practically riding Holden's shoulders.
The Yellow Jackets were 25-of-31 from the free-throw line, while
Maryland got to the line only 11 times, making eight.
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