BLACKSBURG — Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory said there will be plenty of time to break down film and see exactly why a rout of Virginia Tech turned surprisingly competitive late in the game.
The Yellow Jackets let a 25-point lead dwindle to eight but hit enough shots at the end to fend off the Hokies 64-54, giving Georgia Tech its first win in Blacksburg in eight tries.
"This is the first time we've ever won here, right?" Gregory said. "And this is our first road win in the conference this year. So we'll wait until Monday to go over that. I'm not dumb. I'm not stupid. We need to enjoy this."
Kammeon Holsey and Marcus Georges-Hunt each scored 13 points to lead the Yellow Jackets, who became the third team this season to win its first road game at Cassell Coliseum, joining Boston College and Georgia Southern.
The Hokies have lost six consecutive games.
Georgia Tech (13-9, 3-7 ACC) built a 25-point lead in the second half before going ice cold from the floor, allowing the Hokies (11-12, 2-8) to get back into the game.
Georges-Hunt hit a basket to put the Yellow Jackets up, 47-22, with 16:27 left.
But Georgia Tech went 9:15 before scoring another field goal, and Erick Green's basket with 10:22 left capped a 15-1 run and drew the Hokies to within 48-37.
Robert Carter hit a 3-pointer from the left wing with 7:12 left to finally break the cold spell, putting the Yellow Jackets up, 51-37.
"In the second half, you know, we're young, so maybe we take some quicker shots and maybe lose a little bit of our poise," Gregory said. "But in the second half, we did a good job defensively. And that saved us. When we struggled on offense, our defense was able to get stops and rebounds."
Green, the nation's leading scorer, led the way for the Hokies with 28 points and Robert Brown added 10. In the final minute, an exhausted Green nearly passed out on the bench and had to be helped to the locker room by two teammates.
Green was not available for comment after the game. He did not go to the hospital, nor was he given IV fluids. A Virginia Tech spokesman said Green's vitals were fine after drinking several Gatorades and bottles of water after the game.
"He was exhausted," Brown said. "He played his (tail) off for the entire game. He played as hard as he could. He gave us everything he's got."
It took Virginia Tech more than 8 minutes to score its first basket, and Georgia Tech took advantage.
The Yellow Jackets led, 13-3, after Holsey's basket with 12:35 to play in the first half, and Georgia Tech led by double digits until Green hit a shot with 31 seconds left to cut it to eight.
Georgia Tech shot 48 percent and held the Hokies to 6-for-29 (20.7 percent) shooting and took a 37-18 lead into the break.
The Hokies played much of the second half without second-leading scorer Jarell Eddie, who picked up a foul at the 17:18 mark and vehemently argued with officials.
Frustration boiled over for Eddie on the bench afterward. He was 0 for 6 from the floor, and after the foul, he slammed his water bottle on the floor.
It broke, sending water and ice onto the floor and causing a stoppage in play. He remained on the bench for the rest of game.
"I'm trying to build a program and there are certain expectations that I have for these guys on and off the floor," Virginia Tech coach James Johnson said. "It was a mistake. He let his play frustrate him. He's all right. He just let his frustrations get in his way. He'll be all right."
Notes: Georgia Tech has held an opponent to fewer than 20 points before halftime three times this season. The Yellow Jackets held The Citadel to 16 and Rice to 19. … Virginia Tech guard Marquis Rankin returned after missing Thursday night's game against Maryland because of the flu. … Georgia Tech won only once on the road last year in ACC play, beating North Carolina State in Raleigh.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun