'Noles' rally falls short against Yellow Jackets
TALLAHASSEE — Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory has seen his share of close losses the past two years. But on Wednesday night the Yellow Jackets were able to get a close win on the road.
The Yellow Jackets nearly squandered a 17-point lead in the second half but were able to hold on for an 86-80 win over Florida State. The victory snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Seminoles.
"I don't know if you ever get over those (tough losses) but you build some scar tissue up a little bit. I think our guys took a big step tonight in finishing the game," Gregory said.
Another key was converting on second-chance opportunities. Georgia Tech was 9 of 21 on 3-pointers with three of them coming on open looks after getting an offensive rebound.
Adam Smith added 25 points while Quinton Stephens had 11 points and seven rebounds.
Freshman Terance Mann had a career-high 18 points and five rebounds for Florida State while Devon Bookert scored 15 and Xavier Rathan-Mayes 12. After winning four straight, the Seminoles (16-10, 6-8 ACC) have dropped their last three and might have seen their hopes of making the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012 dashed.
"We felt that if we executed our block outs we could at least hold our own on the boards. We got stops but each time we got a stop they were able to go and get an extra offensive possession," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said.
With the score tied at 8, the Yellow Jackets went on an 8-2 run as they led the remainder of the first half. A Jarquez Smith dunk brought the Seminoles within 32-30 with 3:24 left when Georgia Tech went on an 11-2 run to take its largest lead of the half (43-32) with 19 records remaining. Florida State closed the half 2 of 8 from the field but a Boris Bojanovsky rebound dunk off a Bookert miss left it trailing by nine at halftime.
Georgia Tech started the second half on a 7-2 run and would lead by as many as 17 (64-47) with 8:05 remaining. The Seminoles weren't able to get within single digits until there was 2:59 left when Dwayne Bacon made a pair of free throws to make it 73-65.
SNAPPING THE STREAK
It is Georgia Tech's first win over Florida State since Feb. 13, 2007, when it won 63-57 at the Tucker Center. It is Brian Gregory's first win in six attempts against the Seminoles.
The 43 points allowed by Florida State in the first half was a season high, surpassing the 42 scored by Syracuse in an 85-72 loss on Feb. 11. ... Bookert has scored in double figures in three straight games for the first time this season. ... Mann's previous season high was 15 in the Nov. 15 opener against Nicholls State.
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets have had the rebounding edge in all but five of their 26 games this season. They had a 32-25 advantage on the boards on Wednesday night.
Florida State: The freshman duo of Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley struggled for the second straight game. They came in averaging a combined 32.4 points but were held to 19 with Bacon scoring 10. They were held to 15 in last Sunday's 67-65 loss to Miami. After scoring in double figures in his first 24 games, Beasley, who had nine points, has been held to single digits in his last two.
Georgia Tech hosts Notre Dame on Saturday.
Florida State travels to Virginia Tech on Saturday.