ATLANTA — Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt acknowledged that two of his starters had the statistics, but that the play of unheralded walk-on freshman Nick Foreman was the difference.
Freshman Iman Shumpert scored a career-high 18 points and Alade Aminu added 16 points, 12 in the second half and Georgia Tech went on to a 63-51 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday.
The Yellow Jackets (5-1) won their first four games before losing 85-83 to Penn State in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Wednesday night.
"The guy that saved us today was Nick Foreman," Hewitt said. "He played 22 minutes, got loose balls, five rebounds, two steals and three points. I didn’t even know his name in July."
Leading scorer (22.2) and rebounder (11.2), Gani Lawal had a career-high 34 points in the loss to Penn State, but had only eight Saturday with 12 rebounds. Lawal had only three points at the half on 1-of-3 shooting and made only 1 of 5 free throws, but had seven rebounds.
He finished 3 of 10 from the floor and 2 of 7 free throws.
Hewitt said it was a big win without Lawal scoring.
"He came up with a subpar scoring night, but I told him at halftime that they were double-teaming him so just go out and get 20 rebounds," Hewitt said. He had an above rebounding game with 12."
Vanderbilt, (5-3) which was coming off a 74-55 loss to Illinois-Chicago on Wednesday night, was led by A.J. Ogilvy with 15 points and Jeffery Taylor with 11.
The Yellow Jackets trailed 44-43 with 7:58 left before going on a 13-3 run for a 56-47 lead with 1:45 remaining on a basket by Foreman. Aminu, who was 8-of-11 from the field also had 11 rebounds.
Georgia Tech built its largest lead at 63-49 with 30 seconds left on a dunk by Zachery Peacock, who had 10 points.
Georgia Tech outrebounded Vanderbilt 48-33.
"We definitely played hard. We just didn’t rebound," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. "It was not a lack of energy and not a case of not playing hard."
The Yellow Jackets led 28-25 at halftime as both teams shot poorly from the field. Georgia Tech was only 30 percent (9 of 30). Vanderbilt hit on 29.6 percent (8 of 27). Georgia Tech finished at 34 percent (21 of 62) and Vanderbilt was 16-for-50.
Shumpert suffered an apparent back injury with 13:06 remaining in the second half, but after heading to the dressing room for treatment, was back in the game two minutes later.
"He’s fine," Hewitt said. "He has a week to rest because we don’t play until next Sunday."