ATLANTA — Zachery Peacock scored 18 points and Georgia Tech rallied from a 13-point deficit to beat Georgia 67-62 on Tuesday night, completing a sweep of its state rival in the two major sports.
On the heels of a 45-42 victory in football, the Yellow Jackets (9-5) fought back in a sloppy game, providing little hope that either team is on the verge of turning around their disappointing seasons heading into their respective conference schedules.
Peacock drove to the hoop to put Georgia Tech ahead for good, 62-60, with 1:23 remaining. Travis Leslie got open in the lane for Georgia, only to walk as he set up for a dunk.
Lewis Clinch missed a long 3, but out-hustled Terrance Woodbury for the rebound. The Yellow Jackets took advantage of their second chance as Peacock missed a jumper, then watched Gani Lawal jam home the rebound with 20.6 seconds to go. Clinch wrapped it up with two free throws.
Georgia (9-6) was led by Trey Thompkins with 20 points, but the Bulldogs wilted in the second half when Georgia Tech turned up the defensive pressure. They shot only 27 percent (6-of-22) after the break and turned it over 12 times, finishing 19-of-55 (35 percent).
The Yellow Jackets’ shooting touch wasn’t much better. They made 26-of-72 (36 percent) from the field, going 1-for-11 outside the 3-point arc. But Georgia Tech outworked the Bulldogs, coming up with 12 steals and dominating on the boards, 53-40. Lawal had 14 rebounds, Peacock 13.
Georgia hardly looked like the team that won an improbable Southeastern Conference title in its last appearance at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Last March, the league was forced to move its tournament to Georgia Tech’s home court after a tornado struck the Georgia Dome, and the Bulldogs won three games in less than 30 hours to earn a trip to the NCAAs after finishing last in their division during the regular season.
It appeared Georgia was headed for another win when the Yellow Jackets managed only four baskets in the first 10 minutes — three of those produced by offensive rebounds. Twice, the Yellow Jackets needed three tries to finally get the ball through the hoop; on another possession, two tries were required.
Georgia went to the locker room with a 38-28 lead, despite making just 39 percent from the field and making only half of its 16 foul shots.
One of the few cheers from the home crowd erupted when highlights of Georgia Tech’s victory over the Bulldogs — in football, that is — were shown on the video board. They roared again at halftime when star running back Jonathan Dwyer was honored at halfcourt and finished his remarks by shouting, "To hell with Georgia."
The Bulldogs led by 13 three times early in the second half, the last of those on Woodbury’s jumper that made it 45-32 with 16:40 remaining. Georgia made only three more baskets the rest of the game, doing most of its scoring at the foul line.
Certainly, the buildup to the game didn’t come close to matching the intensity of the football rivalry, and there were plenty of empty seats in the 9,000-capacity coliseum. Outside, a man tried desperately to get rid of some unneeded tickets at the best possible price.
"I’ll give ‘em to you for free," he said to a passer-by. "Heck, they ain’t worth anything."
There were no immediate takers.