8:00 PM ET, January 17, 2004
McCamish Pavilion, Atlanta, Georgia
ATLANTA (AP) -- Georgia Tech had a pretty simple game plan: Get the ball to Will Bynum and let him do the rest.Bynum scored a career-high 25 points and Georgia Tech (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP) dominated the final 10 minutes, pulling away for an 81-71 victory over Maryland on Saturday night. The junior generously listed as a 6-footer scored his first 15 points on 3-pointers, missing only once. When the Terrapins began guarding him tighter, Bynum blew past them with a crossover dribble that would make Allen Iverson proud. "I pretty much knew I had 'em," Bynum said, "when I hit a couple of 3s." His signature shot came with 7:44 remaining, during a 14-0 run that decided the game. Bynum drove toward the basket and somehow managed to get off a shot over 6-5 Mike Jones. The ball struck high off the backboard and fell through, sending Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt leaping into the air. "Just get out of his way," Hewitt said. "We weren't running a bunch of X and Os out there. That was just a guy making big plays." Georgia Tech (14-2, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) won its second game in three days after a two-game losing streak. Maryland (10-4, 1-2) couldn't follow up an upset of North Carolina, ending a three-game winning streak. Bynum eclipsed his previous career high of 19 points, set in December 2002 when he was at Arizona. Unhappy with a cut in playing time, he left the Wildcats shortly after that and transferred to Georgia Tech. Bynum usually comes off the bench for the Yellow Jackets, but he's getting plenty of playing time and has accepted his role. "He was such a great player in high school," Hewitt said. "It's been an adjustment for him to work within the framework of the offense. But he understands that we have a lot of good players who can step up on any given night. Tonight was his night. I'm sure he will have other nights." John Gilchrist scored a career-high 27 points, but was the only player in double figures for Maryland. The Terps shot just 36 percent from the field. Nik Caner-Medley missed nine of 10 shots. Jamar Smith went only 2-for-12. "We took a lot of bad shots," Smith said. "We were up by seven, then we got away from our offense in a hurry." Maryland scored the first two baskets of the second half for its biggest lead, 42-35. Georgia Tech rallied, going back ahead 51-49 on Luke Schenscher's basket. For the next three minutes, it appeared the game would go right to the wire. The teams traded the lead five times before Georgia Tech went ahead for good. Appropriately enough, it was Bynum swishing a towering 3 with a hand in his face, the first of those 14 consecutive points and putting the Yellow Jackets up 56-55 with 9:34 remaining. "Oh, that was crazy," Schenscher said. "He couldn't miss. It was unbelievable." When Maryland made a late run to get within seven, Bynum thwarted any thoughts of a comeback by scoring on yet another drive. Schenscher, the most unheralded member of Georgia Tech's lineup, came up with one of his best games. The 7-1 center scored 15 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, set some ferocious picks and blocked three shots. He was largely responsible for holding Smith to seven points -- less than half his average of 14.9. "Schenscher's so tall," the 6-9 Smith said. "He was always in my way." Georgia Tech sprinted to an 11-point lead before the midway point of the first half, burying three straight 3-pointers during an 11-2 run. But Maryland turned up the pressure on defense and began crashing the offensive boards, leading to a 10-0 spurt that pushed the Terrapins to a 33-28 lead with 3½ minutes left in the half. They settled for a 38-35 lead at the break. Gilchrist scored 15 points in the second half, but he didn't have much help. The sophomore's old career high was 24 points against Pepperdine on Dec. 14. "It feels good, as far as individual scoring is concerned," Gilchrist said. "But you can't dwell on individual performance. It doesn't mean anything if your team loses." Hewitt kept up his feud with referee Ted Valentine, which goes back to a Jan. 3 loss at Georgia. After that game, Hewitt accused Valentine of threatening him several times. This time, Hewitt grew increasingly irate with some calls against Schenscher, finally drawing a technical with 3:51 left in the first half. Hewitt started toward Valentine, but was held back by assistant Pete Zaharis. "I may get suspended or fined, but I don't care," Hewitt said. "Teddy had every right to 'T' me up. I was just tired of our players getting disrespected."