ATLANTA — Nick Jacobs matched his career high with 23 points and Georgia Tech rallied after trailing by nine points early in second half to beat Tennessee 69-67 on Monday night.
Jacobs, the transfer from Alabama, also had nine rebounds as Georgia Tech (2-0) overcome abysmal 3-point shooting. The Yellow Jackets made only 2 of 19 3-pointers.
With Georgia Tech leading 69-67, Tennessee’s Kevin Punter missed two free throws with 1:19 remaining.
Following a missed long 3-pointer by Yellow Jackets guard Adam Smith, the Vols grabbed the rebound and called timeout with 6 seconds remaining. Devon Baulkman missed a last-second fallaway 3-pointer.
Armani Moore led Tennessee (1-1) with 17 points. Robert Hubbs III had 13.
Marcus Georges-Hunt had 17 points for Georgia Tech. Charles Mitchell had 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Jacobs’ career high at Alabama was 23 points against Drexel on Nov. 29, 2013.
The Yellow Jackets led 40-38 at halftime despite shortcomings near the basket and on the perimeter. Tennessee grabbed 14 offensive rebounds in the half to take an overall 27-21 advantage on the boards. Georgia Tech made only 1 of 10 3-pointers in the half.
The Vols opened the second half with a 15-4 run for a 53-44 lead. Tennessee’s continued strong work on the offensive boards set up second-chance points that were a key to the run.
Following a Georgia Tech timeout, Jacobs scored to launch a 14-2 run that gave the Yellow Jackets a 58-55 lead. The Vols went more than 4 minutes without scoring before Jabari McGhee’s basket ended the drought.
McGhee had 10 points.
Georges-Hunt’s 3-pointer stretched the Yellow Jackets’ lead to 65-58.
Tennessee: Coach Rick Barnes’ eight career games against Georgia Tech before Monday night came as Clemson’s coach. … Junior college transfer forward Ray Kasongo of Toronto made his debut with two rebounds. The NCAA ruled Kasongo had to sit out the Vols’ opening win over UNC Asheville and pay $300 in restitution due to what athletic department spokesman Tom Satkowiak said was an amateurism issue.
Georgia Tech: Coach Brian Gregory went to his bench early, using 10 players in the first 10 minutes. … Forward James White, a graduate transfer from Arkansas-Little Rock, soared to block an attempted dunk by McGhee, setting up Smith’s jumper late in the first half. White averaged 1.7 blocks last season.
Tennessee plays Marshall on Thursday.
Georgia Tech plays Green Bay on Thursday.