SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- A friendly rivalry between teammates Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors means trouble for opponents of Georgia Tech (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 21 AP).
The two big men each scored 18 points and added three blocks apiece Friday to lead the Yellow Jackets (2-1) to a 70-62 victory over George Mason on Friday in the consolation round of the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off."We push each other to see who can get the most rebounds, score the most points," Favors said. "Me and Gani just try to play hard."Favors scored six of his points in a 13-0 run, capped by one of his dunks, that gave the Yellow Jackets a 43-23 lead with 15 minutes to play. The Patriots (2-2) got no closer than six points the rest of the way.George Mason coach Jim Larranaga said he could not remember a game in which his team had been dunked on so many times."The two big guys just manhandled us inside," he said. "I'll have to watch the tape to see how they were able to do it so easily."Georgia Tech tallied 12 assists and coach Paul Hewitt said his team made fewer mistakes compared with its first-round performance in a 63-59 loss Thursday to No. 18 Dayton."The big thing today is our point guards played with poise and got the balls in to them in the right spots," Hewitt said.George Mason led 17-9 on a 3-pointer by Andre Cornelius with 9:54 left in the first half, but the Yellow Jackets then went on a 15-0 run that featured two dunks from Favors and one from Lawal. Georgia Tech led 27-19 at halftime.The Patriots were coming off a 69-68 loss to Villanova (No. 6 ESPN/USA Today, No. 5 AP) 69-68 in the first round, and Larranaga said the fast pace of that game left his team tired."We quickly lost our focus and as a result we were not able to score at all," Larranaga said.George Mason mounted a late rally and with less than 30 seconds to play Luke Hancock made a layup to cut Georgia Tech's lead to 66-60. But Favors and D'Andre Bell each converted a pair of free throws to seal the victory.Kevin Foster led George Mason with 15 points and nine rebounds, and Cornelius added 11 points, going 3 for 5 from behind the 3-point line. The Patriots shot more than twice as many 3-pointers as the Yellow Jackets, hitting 7 of 24.Lawal had a game-high 14 rebounds for Georgia Tech, which, as he noted, gave him the edge over Favors for the day."When we're on, we really dominate," Lawal said. "When our hands are up and we're active, it's hard for anyone to score on us."