CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP)—Georgia Tech aced its first true road test of the season.
Gani Lawal scored 29 points to lead the 22nd-ranked Yellow Jackets to a 95-64 victory over Chattanooga on Monday night.
Derrick Favors had 14 points, Glen Rice added 11 and Mfon Udofia and Maurice Miller had 10 each for the Yellow Jackets (7-1), who ventured about 2 hours from campus.
“They were pretty physical,” Lawal said. “We scouted them and we knew they would double hard so we had to be smart, take our time and attack it.”
The Yellow Jackets shot 60.8 percent from the field, including 43.8 percent from 3-point range, and finished with a 35-29 rebound advantage.
Georgia Tech scored 30 points in the paint and had 37 points off turnovers while the Mocs had a total of 30 points combined from both categories.
“We knew we weren’t going to score that ball inside,” Chattanooga coach John Shulman said. “That’s two lottery picks down there in Lawal and Favors and I’m not talking about the Tennessee Lottery.
“We hung in there a bit, but they’re just too good.”
Ty Patterson scored 22 points, one off his career high, on 8-of-14 shooting for the Mocs (5-5), while Vanderbilt transfer Keegan Bell added 13 on 5-of-17 shooting.
“They’re big and physical,” Bell said. “They don’t have just one monster down there, they have a couple. We were going down to double, but they’d turn around and score before we could get there.”
The Mocs were hosting a ranked team for just the second time in 15 years. No. 10 Tennessee came into McKenzie Arena two seasons ago and escaped with a 76-70 win.
Chattanooga trimmed a 16-point deficit to six before the Yellow Jackets closed the first half on a 13-0 run to take a 52-33 lead. They expanded the lead to 23 points by holding the Mocs scoreless for the first 3 minutes of the second half.
Chattanooga opened the half with a perfectly executed play to get starting center DeAntre Jefferson the ball on the low post. But by the time he went up for the shot, Favors had his hand on the ball for a block and a rebound that led to a a dunk by Lawal.
“They were getting easy buckets all night,” Chattanooga forward Ridge McKeither said. “They’re NBA guys. They got moves no matter how much pressure we put on them.”
Georgia Tech controlled the second half, never leading by less than 15 points and the largest lead was 32 points with 3:54 to go.
“One of the things we keep saying is that bodies don’t equal depth, production equals depth,” Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt said. “Today, we had good depth.”
The Yellow Jackets didn’t have a great start.
“On our first play, it was a turnover, they came down and knocked down a 3 and I said, `Here we go again,”’ Hewitt said. “When we established both Gani and Derrick we have a chance to be a very good team.
“I thought the last 5 minutes or so of the first half, we started to execute things,” Hewitt said. “We got a good win, since it’s our first true road game. It was a good experience and good opportunity for our guys.”