Howard scores 24 as Yellow Jackets beaten at home


ATLANTA (AP) -- Josh Howard knew all too well how long it had
been since Wake Forest won at Georgia Tech.

Howard scored 24 points and Justin Gray tied his season high
with 20 as the Demon Deacons (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today; No. 10 Associated Press) beat the Yellow Jackets
75-67 Thursday night, ending Georgia Tech's 13-game home winning

''The last time we beat Tech here, I was a freshman,'' Howard
said. ''I'm a senior, and I wanted to do it again.''

Howard, the leading scorer in the Atlantic Coast Conference at
19 points a game, dominated from the start, making his first seven
shots. His effort helped Wake Forest stay a half-game ahead of Duke
and Maryland for the top spot in the ACC.

''We needed this game,'' he said. ''A lot of people thought we'd
finish seventh in the conference.''

The Demon Deacons (18-4, 8-3 ACC) shot 53 percent as a team, the
first time this season Georgia Tech has allowed an opponent to make
at least half its shots in Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

Freshman Jarrett Jack had 19 points for the Yellow Jackets
(12-11, 5-7). Chris Bosh, their second-leading scorer, struggled
and finished with 13. He's been in a funk of late, shooting only 33
percent in the past four games.

''In the first half of the season, I was getting a lot of
one-on-one coverage, and I had a lot of open looks,'' Bosh said.
''Any coach that sees that is going to make sure it doesn't happen.
I'll just have to try to stick to the game plan better and try to
turn this around.''

Georgia Tech lost at home for the first time since Feb. 9, 2002,
and fell to 11-1 this season. On the road, the Yellow Jackets are

''It's real disappointing to lose that home winning streak,''
B.J. Elder said. ''That's the one thing we had going for us this
year. Maybe we can turn it around on the road.''

A month ago, Howard had 30 points in a six-point victory over
the Yellow Jackets. He kept his cool in a physical game this time,
walking away from a few altercations in the first half. Three
times, he and Isma'il Muhammad got tangled up, forcing the referees
to separate them.

Howard also was called for an offensive foul for pushing
Muhammad away from him, but he settled down after the break.

''There was a lot of physical play,'' Howard said. ''That's part
of the game.''

Gray was playing for the third time since missing eight games
with a broken jaw, which was wired shut for about three weeks. He
still wears a protective face mask but hardly seemed bothered by
it. He scored eight points in a five-minute stretch of the first
half, helping the Deacons take an early lead.

''They gave me good looks,'' he said. ''We knew it would be a
tough game, since Tech hadn't lost at home. We needed this game.''

Wake Forest took control of a tight game with an 18-5 run early
in the second half, highlighted by Howard's powerful dunk off a
rebound. Gray also made back-to-back 3-pointers during the spurt,
which gave the Deacons a 62-46 lead.

''It's gratifying but you don't feel real safe,'' Wake Forest
coach Skip Prosser said of the big lead. ''I marvel at our kids.
They just adopt a tremendous sense of resolve which emanates from

Georgia Tech closed to six points in the final minute, but Wake
Forest held on.

''They just played better than us,'' Yellow Jackets coach Paul
Hewitt said. ''Obviously, I'm not happy about it, but you've got to
give them credit.''