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Morrow, Tech rally past Demon Deacons

POSTED: February 17, 2008 5:05 a.m.
/The Associated Press

Georgia Tech's Matt Causey, center, is restrained by teammate Anthony Morrow, right, as Wake Forest's Jeff Teague, left, reacts Wednesday during the first half Winston-Salem, N.C. Causey was called for an intentional foul on another player and Teague was called for a technical foul after the altercation.

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Feeling at home in front of family and friends, Anthony Morrow ended Wake Forest’s home dominance.

Morrow shook off a slow start to score 21 of his 23 points in the second half Wednesday night in Georgia Tech’s 89-83 comeback win that snapped the Demon Deacons’ 16-game home winning streak.

Morrow, who grew up in nearby Charlotte, led Georgia Tech’s rally from a 12-point second-half deficit by breaking out of his recent shooting slump and using his height advantage against Wake Forest’s small backcourt.

Morrow’s 3-pointer with 1:48 left put the Yellow Jackets ahead for good. The 6-foot-5 senior’s two free throws with 50.3 seconds left put Georgia Tech ahead 86-83, and he hit two more with 29.9 seconds left to put the game away.

Zack Peacock added 15 points and Maurice Miller and Alade Aminu scored 11 apiece for Georgia Tech (11-10, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference), which has won three of four since starting league play 0-3

"This is probably the most gratifying win I’ve had since I’ve been in the ACC," said Morrow, who took 18 tickets for friends and family. "Winning on the road at Wake Forest and playing well in front of my family. Now, we’ve just got to keep it going."

Jeff Teague scored 19 points, Harvey Hale had 18 and James Johnson 13 for Wake Forest (13-8, 3-5), which hadn’t lost at home since Feb. 3, 2007 to Maryland.

"I think the game was a little more physical than we’re used to," Demon Deacons coach Dino Gaudio said. "The physicality of it affected us. We backed ourselves into a little corner now. We have to try to make sure we bounce back on Saturday against Virginia."

Georgia Tech, which has a better record on road and neutral courts (7-5) than at home (4-5), looked poised in scoring 14 unanswered points to take a 64-62 lead with 11:04 left.

With Wake Forest’s backcourt of Ishmael Smith and Teague combining for 11 turnovers and Johnson struggling to rebound and defend in the paint, the Demon Deacons’ stalled in the second half until Hale emerged.

Hale hit two 3-pointers and had a driving layup as Wake Forest went back ahead 79-77 with 4:51 left.

Morrow, who hit 6 of 9 shots and all eight free throws, then took over to offset a poor first half to give Georgia Tech a 3-1 road ACC mark. Morrow had shot 8-for-23 in the past three games.

"Like a lot of seniors when they get to this point in their career, they realize that time’s running out and they’ve got to spend it all out there," Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt said. "He’s playing better, and he stepped up and made plays."

It was the first meeting since the teams combined for the highest-scoring game in ACC tournament history last March, when the Demon Deacons outlasted the Yellow Jackets 114-112 in double overtime.

With both teams desperately looking to move up in the ACC standings, the rematch got off to a bruising start.

Johnson was fouled hard on a drive to the basket by Georgia Tech’s Matt Causey midway through the first half.

After the officials signaled an intentional foul, Teague started clapping in Causey’s face and made contact. Causey lunged at Teague, who was called for a technical foul, and a brief skirmish ensued.

Causey was booed every time he touched the ball the rest of the game, while Teague finished with 12 first-half points as Wake Forest built as much as a 13-point lead.

"Maybe we just get too comfortable when we have a lead like that," Johnson said.

"We just need to keep pushing the ball as hard as we can, and playing as hard a defense as we did in the first half in the second half."

While the Demon Deacons shot 50 percent, they committed 20 turnovers and allowed Georgia Tech to shoot 54 percent.

Wake Forest had particular problems matching up in the paint. It led Gaudio to bench Johnson, a freshman, for much of the second half.

"We’re just trying to put a premium on defense. that was the impetus behind him sitting," Gaudio said.

"David Weaver is a very good defender and that’s what we weren’t doing tonight. So we had (Weaver) on the floor to guard."



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