If Georgia Tech hears its name called on Selection Sunday, the Yellowjackets should send a thank you card to the referees who worked their 69-64 ACC quarterfinal victory over Maryland on Friday night.
With 1:20 to go, the shot clock ticking down and the Yellowjackets clinging to a three-point lead, freshman Derrick Favors rebounded a wild off-balance layup attempt by Maurice Miller and threw down a huge follow slam. Replays showed that Miller's shot failed to draw iron and that the ball was still in Favors' hands when the shot clock expired (see photo), yet Georgia Tech received credit for the bucket and extended its lead to five.
For a Georgia Tech team that endured a heartbreaking loss at Maryland a few weeks ago on a Cliff Tucker 3-pointer at the buzzer, Friday's victory no doubt assuaged some of that pain. The Yellowjackets had slipped to the NCAA tournament bubble as a result of seven losses in eight ACC road games, but back-to-back victories over North Carolina and Maryland the past two nights should be enough to secure their at-large bid.
Maryland has a right to complain about the blown call, but the Terps had plenty of opportunities to win this game. Six times in the final 4:30, they had the ball within one possession of the lead yet failed to score.
The last chance came when ACC player of the year Greivis Vasquez pulled up behind the arc with Maryland trailing 67-64 and about six seconds remaining. Iman Shumpert stripped the ball out of Vasquez's hands, took off down court and drew a foul, sealing the Georgia Tech win.