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Morrow, Tech beat Wake Forest

POSTED: March 12, 2008 5:00 a.m.

ATLANTA — Georgia Tech still has a chance to avoid a losing season after all.

Georgia Tech lost a 13-point lead in regulation but recovered to beat Wake Forest 87-79 in overtime and end its five-game losing streak on Saturday.

Georgia Tech (12-15 overall, 5-8 Atlantic Coast Conference) has three more regular-season games, beginning with Monday night's rescheduled game against Virginia, as it tries to even its overall and ACC records entering the conference tournament.

The Virginia game, originally scheduled for Feb. 21, was postponed due to a leak in the Alexander Memorial Coliseum roof. Now the Yellow Jackets have a chance to take some momentum into the game.

"It turns out it could be a bit of a break for us, to get out of the (losing) streak we've been in and to have two games at home back-to-back pretty quick like this," said Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt. "Our fortunes could turn pretty quickly if we come out and play well against Virginia."

Hewitt said he hopes his team can finish the season strong even though it wasn't especially sharp in the win.

The Yellow Jackets committed 18 turnovers and made only 31.3 percent of their shots in the second half, but they never trailed as Wake Forest also struggled with 15 turnovers and early foul trouble.

"That was one of the strangest games I've ever been involved in," Hewitt said. "Right from the beginning we never could get into the flow, neither team was getting in the flow."

The Yellow Jackets were without senior guard Matt Causey, who suffered a mild concussion in Wednesday's loss at Duke. Causey is questionable for the Virginia game.

There were more injury scares for Hewitt against Wake Forest. Jeremis Smith left the game briefly in the first half with what was reported as a stinger in his back after he fell onto a courtside photographer. Smith took another dive over the scorer's table in the last minute of overtime.

Another Tech inside player, Zack Peacock, suffered a back spasm late in the second half.

"I'm sore," Smith said before adding he liked the physical style of play.

"There were a lot of dives, a lot of hard fouls," Smith said. "You like those kinds of games."

Georgia Tech's five-game losing streak began after its 89-83 win at Wake Forest on Feb. 6. Anthony Morrow, who scored 23 points in the first win over the Demon Deacons, added 22 points in the rematch as the Yellow Jackets took two wins in the series for the first time since the 1997-98 season.

After a 2-2 tie, Georgia Tech led until only 43.6 seconds left when a short jumper by Wake Forest's Jeff Teague tied the game at 72-72.

Georgia Tech's D'Andre Bell missed a jumper but the Yellow Jackets were awarded possession when the ball went out of bounds with 8.8 seconds left. Maurice Miller turned the ball over on an attempted pass inside to Smith, leading to the overtime.

"Nobody panicked," said Miller, who had 18 points and six assists. "We came out and executed (in overtime). This boosts our confidence. We have nothing to lose."

Smith added 16 points with 13 rebounds.

Gani Lawal, who scored only two points in regulation, added six in overtime, including Georgia Tech's first two baskets of the extra period.

Chas McFarland set a career high with 28 points and led the Demon Deacons with 12 rebounds. McFarland's previous high was 17 against Florida State on Feb. 17.

Wake Forest (16-11, 6-8) suffered its third straight loss.

"I thought our kids scrapped," said Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio, who said Georgia Tech's 14 offensive rebounds were costly.

"We gave up 14 second shots," Gaudio said. "Those are just fundamentals of the game that you need to do. We're looking for a little more consistency from different guys. When guys come off the bench, they have to give us a lift, too."

Teague didn't start but added 20 points for Wake Forest. McFarland and Teague fouled out in the overtime.

Gaudio said Teague, averaging 12.7 points per game as one of the ACC's top freshmen, didn't start because he struggled, making only 2 of 11 shots, in a loss to Duke on Wednesday.

It marked the second overtime in the last three games between the teams, following Wake Forest's 114-112 double-overtime win over the Yellow Jackets in the 2007 ACC tournament.

James Johnson played only four minutes in the first half before leaving with three fouls, no points and no rebounds. Without their leading scorer and rebounder, the Demon Deacons' struggled.

Johnson finished with only four points, 11.5 below his average.

Wake Forest guard L.D. Williams went to the bench with four fouls less than four minutes into the second half.

Georgia Tech used 3-pointers by Morrow and Miller to take a big lead of 54-41 with 14:34 left. Wake Forest answered with a 15-4 run, capped by Harvey Hale's 3-pointer with 9:38 left, to cut the lead to 58-56. Hale had seven points in the run.



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