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Bynam explodes for career-high 25

1/18/2004

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."