ATLANTA — Georgia Tech showed again on Monday night that it can rely on captain Marcus Georges-Hunt when it matters most.
Georges-Hunt bounced back from a pair of subpar games to score 15 points, all in the first half, and lead the Yellow Jackets to a 70-57 win over Appalachian State.
The win came eight days after Georgia Tech had been upset on its home court by South Carolina Upstate.
Georges-Hunt had been held to single-digits the last two games, but helped the Yellow Jackets to a 36-25 halftime lead.
He was 4 of 10 from the field and 7 of 9 from the line.
"For that 11 or 12 minutes of the first half, Marcus was terrific," Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory said. "He did some really good things."
With Georges-Hunt hampered by foul trouble in the second half, DeMarco Cox and Robert Sampson took over inside. Cox scored seven of his 13 points and Sampson scored six of his 10 after halftime. Sampson finished with eight rebounds.
"I was trying to be aggressive," Georges-Hunt said. "Knowing a lot of the time the defense is keying on me, I tried to be as aggressive as possible to open up things for my teammates."
Georgia Tech (7-2) also got 12 points from Tadric Jackson.
Appalachian State (3-4) was led by Chris Burgess, who scored 15 points and Dustin Clarke, who added 13 and nine rebounds.
Appalachian State got off to a quick start and had an 11-6 lead with 16:20 left on a layup by Tommy Spagnolo. Georgia Tech responded with a 9-0 run, tying the game at 11-11 on a pair of free throws Jackson and taking the lead on a dunk by Sampson. The Yellow Jackets stretched the lead to 17-11, only to have the Mountaineers score six straight and knot the game at 17 on a short jumper by Burgess.
That's when Georgia Tech began to assert itself in the paint. Cox made a short jumper and Georges-Hunt had eight points, including six free throws drawn while driving to the basket, to spark a 16-6 stretch that gave the Yellow Jackets a 33-23 lead.
"We struggled to get into a flow," Appalachian State coach Jim Fox said. "I think that was a credit to them and the adjustments they made early."
Appalachian State cut the lead to seven points early in the second half on a bucket by Spagnolo with 18:37 left. Georgia Tech quickly turned aside any threat by running plays inside and a power move by Cox with 11:22 remaining pushed the lead to 55-40.
Appalachian State: The Mountaineers' unwillingness to drive to the basket kept them off the free throw line. They did not shoot a free throw in the first half and only shot eight for the game — but made them all. Their previous season low was 16 attempts.
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets were more aggressive on offense and it paid off. Georgia Tech went to the line only 20 times in its loss to USC Upstate, but shot 29 free throws Monday, making 18. It was the second-most points scored from the line this season.
Georgia Tech hosts Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Appalachian State visits Charlotte on Thursday.
Appalachian State defeated Virginia Tech earlier this year by outrebounding the Hokies 42-27. The Mountaineers were outrebounded 35-26 by Georgia Tech and had only three offensive rebounds. They had 19 offensive rebounds against Virginia Tech. "Georgia Tech did a good job keeping us off the glass," Fox said.
Georgia Tech is 4-0 in the team's first game following fall semester exams under Gregory.
The win was the 50th for Gregory as the Yellow Jackets head coach. His career record is 222-148 in 12 seasons.