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Georgia Tech tops UTEP 71-61 in Legends semis
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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Glen Rice Jr. brought out the proud papa sitting in the stands.

Rice had 19 points and 11 rebounds to lead Georgia Tech to a 71-61 win over UTEP on Friday night in the semifinals of the Legends Classic.

The Yellow Jackets will play the winner of Friday night's No. 9 Syracuse-Michigan game in the championship game.

Rice had two kinds of double-doubles: the one that shows up in the box score and an emotional one. He made his dad, former NBA superstar Glen Rice, beam and his coach thrilled that the Yellow Jackets (4-1) advanced in the tournament.

Rice's thunderous dunk early in the second half helped put Georgia Tech ahead and his dad stood in excitement and high-fived a fan across the aisle.

"I think he'd like to see us play Michigan," Rice said.

Rice went 6 for 14 in front of his father, who stuck around to root on the Wolverines in the second game. Rice didn't show any his dad's famous 3-point shooting touch, however, missing on all four attempts.

Brian Oliver had 15 points and 12 rebounds for Georgia Tech and Iman Shumpert scored 13 points.

Oliver and Rice had the kind of games that give coach Paul Hewitt hope for a second straight trip to the NCAA tournament.

"That's what they're capable of," Hewitt said. "When they approach their preparation, their practice, their walkthroughs in a mature fashion, they can play that way. Today you saw it."

Oliver put the Yellow Jackets ahead for good 56-54 on a 3-pointer with 5:46 left in the second half. That sparked an 18-7 game-ending run that included another 3 from Oliver. The Yellow Jackets secured the win from the free-throw line and went 18 of 23 overall, making up for a poor effort from the floor.

The Yellow Jackets only shot 39 percent in the second half, the kind of number usually not good enough to win. The Miners, though, didn't have the poise to stop fouling and rushed questionable shots early in the shot clock that cost them the victory and will send them to the loser's bracket.

Randy Culpepper led UTEP (3-2) with 13 points. Christian Polke scored 12 points and Julyan Stone had 10.

"The whole second half we were out of our game and we weren't able to get back," Stone said.

UTEP came out rolling in the first half and led 37-31 at the break. Stone cooled in the next 20 minutes, scoring only two points. Jeremy Williams scored nine points in the first half, then was scoreless in the second.

Rice, a sophomore guard, surely impressed his dad with a monster dunk that got the crowd on their feet.

He wasn't the only basketball dad watching inside Boardwalk Hall.

Former UTEP star and NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway watched the game stretched out over a couple of seats behind the Miners' bench. Hardaway had two reasons to root on Friday night: for UTEP and for his son, Tim Hardaway Jr., who played in the second game for Michigan. He threw his support behind first-year coach Tim Floyd, who returned to El Paso this season and was once an assistant under former Miners coach Don Haskins.

"I think we need somebody that cares for this city, that cares for this team," Hardaway said. "I don't think Tim's going to go anywhere. I think this will be his last stand for a long, long time. Just like coach Haskins. I don't expect 35, 40 years, but I expect a long time."

Floyd laughed when told of Hardaway's comments.

"Blowing more leads like that, it won't be a real long time," he said.

Floyd, who most recently has been an assistant for the NBA's New Orleans Hornets, left USC after the 2009 season amid allegations of recruiting violations involving player O.J. Mayo.

He replaced Tony Barbee, who left UTEP to take over at Auburn. Barbee led UTEP to the NCAA tournament, but the Miners lost in the first round to Butler.

"You always approach every job long term. That's what you think when you take a job," Floyd said. "I think as a result you do a better job for the school. You certainly hope so. But sometimes the winds change in this business."

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