UNC-Greensboro stuns Georgia Tech 83-74
ATLANTA (AP)—UNC-Greensboro handed another major-conference school a stunning loss, getting 25 points from Kyle Hines in an 83-74 victory over Georgia Tech on Friday night.
Following the lead set by Gardner-Webb with its upset win over Kentucky, the Spartans (1-0) dominated much of the second half and easily held off the Yellow Jackets at the end.
Georgia Tech (0-1), an NCAA tournament team last season from the Atlantic Coast Conference, lost its first opener since 1993 and had not dropped an opening game at home since 1980, the start of a 4-23 season that led to the firing of coach Dwane Morrison and ushered in the Bobby Cremins era.
The Yellow Jackets went to the locker room with a 43-39 lead after a seesaw first half that included 17 lead changes and nine ties. They shot only 36 percent from the field but made up for it with a dominating 27-14 edge on the boards.
But UNC-Greensboro, from the Southern Conference, began working harder on the boards and took command with a 12-0 spurt early in the second half.
Georgia Tech never mustered much offensively, hitting just 26-of-68 (38 percent) from the field. The Yellow Jackets clearly have plenty of work to do after losing both Javaris Crittenton and Thaddeus Young to the NBA.
Both played only one season in Atlanta before turning pro. Both were first-round draft picks.
Anthony Morrow led Georgia Tech with 23 points, but freshmen Gani Lawal (12 points) and Maurice Miller (10) were the only other players in double figures.
Lewis Clinch, suspended for much of last season over a violation of the school’s academic honor code, had a miserable return to the court. He made only 2-of-13 shots, including 1-of-6 from 3-point range, to finish with 5 points.
Morrow hit a jumper early in the second half to push Georgia Tech to a 45-39 lead, but that was about the last highlight for the Yellow Jackets.
Kendall Toney hit a 3, Ben Stywall got loose for a layup and Hines put the Spartans ahead to stay with another lay-in. Mikko Koivisto followed with yet another layup against a Georgia Tech defense that often looked lost and confused, and Daniel Oliver finished the run with a 3-pointer that pushed UNC-Greensboro to a 51-45 lead.
The Spartans led the rest of the way, pushing the margin as high as 14 points. Georgia Tech got to 74-67 on Lawal’s dunk with 1:19 left, but UNC-Greensboro closed it out at the foul line, hitting eight straight down the stretch.
Koivisto scored 16 points, hitting 3-of-6 outside the arc. Johnson added 11 points.
After getting outrebounded 27-14 in the first half, including 17 at the offensive end, UNC-Greensboro turned it around over the final 20 minutes. The Spartans had 22-15 rebounding edge and gave up only four offensive boards.