Originally created 11/29/03

Georgia Tech tops Texas Tech



NEW YORK -- Georgia Tech might be the best kept secret in college basketball.

The Yellow Jackets' defense smothered Texas Tech on Friday night and Georgia Tech beat the Red Raiders 85-65 to win the Preseason NIT.

No. 1 Connecticut defeated Utah 76-44 in the consolation game for third place.

Coach Paul Hewitt touted Georgia Tech's B.J. Elder as the "best kept secret in college basketball," but Elder had plenty of help against Texas Tech.

Jarrett Jack scored eight straight points midway through the first half and Georgia Tech pulled away gradually, often denying Texas Tech any kind of decent shot. Jack finished with 17 points while reserve Isma'il Muhammad had 16. Elder also had 16.

Andre Emmett led Texas Tech with 25.

Georgia Tech played passionate defense, challenging every possession, forcing Texas Tech into hurried shots. It is becoming a trademark for the Yellow Jackets, who came into the game holding opponents to 35.3 percent shooting from the floor and limited Texas Tech to 39 percent.

They will run all game long, daring opponents to stay with them in the up-tempo game.

Twice in the first half, the Yellow Jackets denied Texas Tech shots until the 35-second clock ran down. Rarely did Texas Tech have a shot that was not challenged. The stifling defense forced Texas Tech into 16 turnovers.

Hewitt never let the Yellow Jackets forget their defensive assignments. On one switch, he gestured to an open Texas Tech player and shouted to his team, "Who's got this one? Who's got this one?"

Somebody quickly did.

The zest for denying points added up to a 43-28 halftime lead for Georgia Tech (5-0) off to its best start since 1994-95. Texas Tech (4-1) never solved the defensive puzzle and Georgia Tech extended the lead to as many as 28 points.