ATLANTA (AP) -- Jarrett Jack walked toward the opposite end of
the court, struggling to catch his breath. The Georgia Tech guard
remembered his two missed free throws in overtime, along with a
critical turnover that allowed Wake Forest to tie it up in
He was determined to put an end to a long, grueling night and
get the Yellow Jackets back on the right track.
Jack came through, making two free throws with 4.4 seconds left
to give Georgia Tech a 102-101 overtime victory over the
fifth-ranked Demon Deacons on Thursday night. The Yellow Jackets (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today; No. 22 AP)
snapped a three-game losing streak in the Atlantic Coast
"I told myself that I had to come through for my team," said
Jack, who scored 23 points. "The mark of a great team is being
able to put the past behind you."
The Demon Deacons got the last shot, but Chris Paul missed at
the buzzer. He also had a chance to win it at the end of
regulation, but that attempt fell off the rim, too.
"Coach said get the ball and try to get to the basket," Paul
said. "I just missed it."
It was a thrilling game, featuring all sorts of twists and
Georgia Tech (12-5, 3-3) built a 17-point lead in the first
half, but Wake Forest (16-3, 4-2) got back in it. Eric Williams led
the Demon Deacons with 27 points, but Paul managed only eight on
"We take pride in stopping great players," said Will Bynum,
who scored a career-high 30 points for the Yellow Jackets and spent
time guarding Paul. "He's a great player, so we try to play him as
physically as possible. Don't let him get into rhythm. Be there in
his face every time."
Georgia Tech's student body stormed the court after the final
miss, setting off a raucous celebration that lasted several
minutes. Weary players from both teams struggled just to make it to
their locker rooms.
The Yellow Jackets started the season in the top five, but three
straight ACC losses sent them tumbling in the rankings. They had to
bounce back from a stunning upset at home by Virginia Tech last
"This may have been make or break for our season," Bynum said.
"If we had lost this game, it could have destroyed our
It was a game that didn't want to end, stretching on for nearly
3 hours and leaving both teams huffing and puffing. Georgia Tech's
Isma'il Muhammad hobbled off the court with severe leg cramps, but
the pain subsided after he was injected with fluids. He finished
the game with both arms wrapped in gauze.
Before his clinching free throws, Jack walked almost to the
opposite foul line, gaining a few precious seconds to catch his
Wake Forest took off up the court and Paul missed a desperation
shot as the horn sounded. But official Tony Greene signaled that
the Demon Deacons had called a timeout, forcing a look at the
television replay to determine how much time was left.
The clock was reset to 2.8 seconds, and Paul got one more
chance. Jack fell down trying to keep up with the Demon Deacons
star, but it didn't matter.
Clearly, the Yellow Jackets seem to have figured out Paul, the
leading vote-getter on the AP's preseason All-America team. He was
held to a career-low two points in the game at Atlanta last year.
"We have a lot of big bodies," Jack said. "That's something
he's not used to. Size bothers anybody."
Williams' size bothered the Yellow Jackets. The 6-foot-9,
291-pound junior repeatedly muscled through double- and
triple-teams to reach the basket.
"I couldn't let them stop me," he said. "No matter how many
guys they put on me, I had to get around them."
But Williams met his match near the end of a game -- a cramp that
forced him to the bench.
"I was crying after the game. I felt I let my team down," he
said. "I was disappointed about having to come out."
Justin Gray added 22 points for Wake Forest.
Wake Forest seized its first lead since scoring the opening
basket of the game, going up 94-92 when Vytas Danelius laid it in
off Paul's pass with 2:15 remaining.
Luke Schenscher put Georgia Tech back in front on a dunk with 44
seconds left, and Georgia Tech appeared to be in good shape when
Muhammad stole the ball from Williams at the other end.
But Jack stumbled bringing the ball up court, Wake Forest came
up with the loose ball and Taron Downey drove in a for a layup at
the other end. Bynum threw his body into Downey, sending both
players tumbling into the basket support and drawing an intentional
foul on Bynum.
Downey hit two free throws with 19 seconds left to make it
98-all, and Wake Forest got the ball. But Paul couldn't convert.
"I'm proud of our guys," Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser said.
"We battled back and certainly had a chance to win it in the