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Georgia Tech rallies to beat Virginia

The SportsXchange

ATLANTA - Trailing at half, Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory told his players they were going to beat Virginia in the final two minutes of the game.

He was right.

Mfon Udofia scored 15 points, including the go-ahead basket with 1:15 to play, lifting Georgia Tech to a come-from-behind 66-60 victory over Virginia, on Sunday at McCamish Pavilion.

The Yellow Jackets fell behind at the seven-minute mark of the first half and were down nine with eight minutes to play. But Chris Bolden sparked a rally, hitting a 3-pointer from the wing and a free-throw line jumper that tied the game, 57-57.

Udofia followed with a floater in the lane with just over a minute to play that gave the Yellow Jackets (12-8, 2-6 ACC) their first lead since the first half.

Georgia Tech made five of eight free throws in the final 44 seconds to seal its second win in its last three games and end a five-game losing streak to Virginia.

"I told them (at halftime) we're going to get this game into the last two minutes," said Georgia Tech second-year coach Brian Gregory. "We're going to do it different than the last two minutes of the first half. We're going to execute well, defend well and we're going to end up winning this game in the last two minutes."

Joe Harris led Virginia (15-4, 5-3) with 18 points, including four 3-pointers, but couldn't come up with a basket down the stretch.

The Cavs had just one field goal in the final eight minutes of the game and scored on one of their last 14 possessions. Fourteen of Harris' points came in the first half.

"I thought we got some pretty good looks," said Virginia coach Tony Bennett. "I thought the quality of shots were there. I don't know how many we turned over at the end, but there were some looks there that were point blank."

Three of the Cavs' 14 turnovers came in the final eight minutes.

"Joe Harris and Jontell Evans accounted for 10 of the 14 turnovers," said Bennett. "That's too many."

Bolden and Robert Carter each had 14 points for the Yellow Jackets, who became the first ACC team to score at least 60 points against Virginia this season.

Akil Mitchell added 13 points, and Justin Anderson finished with 10 points for the Cavaliers, who fell into the jumbled middle of the ACC standings.

Virginia built its lead in the first half from beyond the arc. Harris and Paul Jesperson curled off screens and hit 3-pointers during a 17-8 run to close the first half with Cavs up nine at the break.

The Cavs weathered an early second-half challenge from Georgia Tech and appeared to be headed for their fifth straight win after Anderson made two free throws to put Virginia up 57-48 with 8:12 to play. But the Cavs went ice cold and made several uncharacteristic turnovers in the decisive moments of the game.

"I knew Georgia Tech was going to make a run," said Bennett. "The way we started the second half bothered me, because we played some good basketball in the first half with nice rhythm. It's those little areas that are so costly to a team that isn't explosive offensively. We can't afford to have those lapses whether it's not picking up loose balls, missing free throws or a careless turnover."

Udofia jump-started the Yellow Jackets' closing run with a 3-pointer at the 7:50 mark. Daniel Miller had a tip-in, and Carter hit a jumper and had a key block to help Georgia Tech rally.

"We have a long way to go," added Gregory. "You keep looking at the steps you're taking and that the individual players are taking, and you've got to be pleased with the progress."

Notes: Georgia Tech improved to 10-2 at home in its first season in the McCamish Pavilion. ... Virginia beat the Yellow Jackets by 32 points in the teams' only meeting last season. ... Five freshmen -- Anderson, Taylor Barnette, Teven Jones, Evan Nolte and Mike Tobey -- have started this season for Virginia. ... Georgia Tech outscored Virginia 11-3 in second-chance points in the second half. ... The Yellow Jackets made seven more free throws (18) than Virginia attempted (11).
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