Trae Golden scored eight of his 24 points in the closing 2:16 and Georgia Tech held on after nearly blowing a big second-half lead to beat Boston College 68-60 on Tuesday night.
Coming off a 56-42 loss at home against Miami when the Yellow Jackets shot just 29.5 percent, they hit 73.9 percent in the opening half against Boston College in building a 15-point halftime edge.
“We were disappointed with Saturday’s aggressiveness on offense,” Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory said. “I told the guys, ‘If you’re going to go down, you’ve got to go down swinging.’ We’re a little bit undermanned right now with the injuries and different things. We can’t play on our heels, and I thought we did that on Saturday. We talked the past two days that we’ve got to grab the bull by the horn on the offensive end.”
Kammeon Holsey added 13 points and Chris Bolden 11 for the Yellow Jackets (11-8, 2-4 Atlantic Coast Conference).
After nearly wasting away the big lead, Georgia Tech hung on for just the second win in six games.
“I don’t know, but we’re going to figure it out so we can make sure we do it when we go to N.C. State,” Golden said of the hot start. “I think the biggest thing is being confident and aggressive. That’s the biggest key in basketball, being confident and aggressive.”
Olivier Hanlan had 19 points and Lonnie Jackson 14 for Boston College (5-14, 1-5). The Eagles lost for the 10th time in 12 games.
Hanlan, who scored 41 against Georgia Tech in the ACC tourney last season, nearly helped BC to a much-needed victory.
“I thought a lot of our guys played with passion,” Eagles coach Steve Donahue said. “I think (Hanlan) is doing as much as he can to help us win.”
Boston College, which trailed by 19 points in the first half, closed it to 57-56 on Patrick Heckmann’s dunk with 4:45 to play. The Eagles had two chances to take their first lead of the game before Golden nailed a running bank shot and followed Joe Rahon’s miss from beyond the arc by hitting a 3 from the top, making it 62-56 with 1:26 to play.
The Eagles made their charge by going 6-for-8 on 3-point attempts in the opening 10-and-a-half minutes of the second half.
Trailing by 18 early in the second half, BC made a run behind some sharp long-range shooting by Jackson, who nailed three straight 3s that helped slice the gap to 50-42 on Hanlan’s fast break layup with just under 16 minutes to play.
After a pair of baskets by Georgia Tech, Hanlan hit two more 3s during a 9-1 run, his second closing it to 55-51 with 9-and-a-half minutes left.
BC looked like an entirely different team defensively in the second half, playing a zone, double-teaming nearly every time a Yellow Jackets’ player caught the ball near the lane and forcing them to take a number of tough shots late in the shot clock. Georgia Tech missed 13 of its first 17 shots in the second half.
The Yellow Jackets matched their entire scoring output from a loss at home on Saturday against Miami by scoring 42 in the first half to lead Boston College by 15 at intermission. They went 17 of 23 from the field, going 6 for 8 on 3-point attempts.
Georgia Tech started hot from the field, making 14 of its initial 16 shots, and didn’t cool down until missing the final two. The Yellow Jackets pulled to a double digit lead (12-2) just 3:40 into the game after Golden scored seven straight points. Bolden’s 3 from the left corner gave them a 16-3 lead.
Georgia Tech used a 12-2 run midway into the half to pull to its biggest lead of the game, 34-15, on Holsey’s layup. Bolden and Golden each hit 3s during the spree.
BC shot just 36 percent (9 of 25) in the opening half, missing eight of its 10 3-point attempts. The Eagles had a tough time getting the ball inside Georgia Tech’s 2-3 zone.
Because of a snowstorm that hit the area around rush hour combined with a 9 P.M. start, there were about 500 fans in the stands when the game tipped off, but a late arriving group of BC students helped bring some energy and noise to a quiet arena early into the game.
Hanlan’s 41 in last ACC tourney was the most points in any tourney game since 1970.
It was Georgia Tech’s first of four of five on the road. The Yellow Jackets are at North Carolina State on Sunday.
BC is off until it hosts Virginia Tech next Wednesday.
“We’re going to us it to rest and use it for a chance to work on things,” Donahue said.