A season that has been rife with disappointment, injuries, self-inflicted wounds reached an undeniable and unbelievable zenith Tuesday night. Georgia Tech, losers of its past four games and owners of a No. 172 RPI ranking between noted powers Wofford and Oral Roberts, scored the biggest victory of coach Brian Gregory’s tenure, a 67-62 stunner over No. 7 Syracuse at the Carrier Dome. On a night when 26,766 Orange fans assembled to enjoy a senior night win over the hapless Yellow Jackets, Tech turned the tables on proud Syracuse, playing with about 37 minutes of poise and focus and three minutes of a frantic attempt to run out the clock during which the lead, once as many as 13 in the second half, shrank to three points with 18.1 seconds to go. Tech benefited from Syracuse’s clunky free-throw shooting – the Orange shot 7-for-16. Tech turned the ball over just nine times against Syracuse’s full-court pressure and vaunted 2-3 zone defense. The win followed, almost a year to the day, Tech’s biggest win under Gregory prior to Tuesday night, a 71-69 win at then-No. 6 Miami. In its first meeting with Syracuse as ACC members, Tech (14-16 overall, 5-12 ACC) did the things that it has repeatedly failed to do this season – take care of the ball, avoid lapses of focus and stick to its offensive game plan. The Jackets grew a 31-23 halftime lead to as many as 13 points, the point at which Tech has often stumbled. But against Syracuse’s pressure, the Jackets refused to buckle, repeatedly burning the Orange’s full-court pressure with easy lay-ins at the other end. Syracuse (26-4, 13-4) lost for just the second time at home this season and the fourth time in the past three seasons. Oddly, the Orange’s other loss was to lowly Boston College, which gave Syracuse its first loss of the season Feb. 19. After starting the season 25-0, Syracuse has lost four of its past five. Tech began the game adhering to its offensive game plan to find gaps in the zone through quick passes in and out of the post. Tech’s two-post system was effective in getting out of Syracuse’s double-team traps. When forward Robert Carter passed crosscourt of a double team to forward Quinton Stephens for a 3-pointer, it gave the Jackets a 21-14 lead. Stephens pumped his fist as he retreated down the court and coach Jim Boeheim was forced to call a timeout.
Georgia Tech wins stunner over No. 7 Syracuse
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Mar 5