Marcus Georges-Hunt had 11 points and nine rebounds to lead Georgia Tech to a 54-36 victory over Rice on Thursday night in an opening-round game of the DirecTV Classic.
Georgia Tech (3-0) opened the second half with a 13-3 run, including a 12-footer and a 3-pointer by Brandon Reed 32 seconds apart. Georges-Hunt, a freshman, capped the rally on a pair of free throws, giving the Yellow Jackets a 38-22 lead with 15:11 remaining.
Rice (1-3) went 7:36 without a field goal during that stretch, which was sandwiched by 3-pointers from Owls reserve guard Austin Ramljak. The junior, who grew up in nearby Thousand Oaks and began his collegiate career at Ventura College, led the Owls with 18 points and shot 6 for 12 from the field — all of his shots coming from 3-point range.
Another 3-pointer by Ramljak got Rice within 42-29 with 7:09 to play, but Georgia Tech closed with a 12-7 run. The Owls didn't convert their first free throw until Tamir Jackson made one of two with 13:59 remaining. Julian DeBose missed all six of his shots and Rice shot 22.9 percent from the field.
No player scored more than six points during a seesaw first half that resulted in a 27-19 Georgia Tech lead. The Yellow Jackets opened the game with an 11-0 run as Rice missed its first five shots and didn't make a field goal over the first 5 minutes.
The Owls stormed back and grabbed a 19-15 lead with a 19-4 surge fueled by five 3-pointers, two each by Ramljak and Jackson and the other by Seth Gearhart. But Mfon Udofia and Robert Carter Jr. led Georgia Tech on a 10-0 spurt over the final 5:23 of the half.