ATLANTA - The Georgia Tech men's basketball team sat down in the dentist's chair Saturday, opened its mouth wide and prayed that the time to rinse would come quickly.
Defending the Princeton offense is about as enjoyable as a dental cleaning for coach Paul Hewitt's Yellow Jackets. They see it at least twice a year when they face Atlantic Coast Conference rival North Carolina State, with the Wolfpack screening and backdoor cutting into them like a dentist's drill.
Georgia Tech might have found the basketball equivalent to Novocain on Saturday at Philips Arena, though, with a 64-42 victory over the Air Force Academy.
The Falcons might be athletically inferior to N.C. State, but they run the same deliberate offense as the Wolfpack.
The Jackets (6-0) numbed Air Force nonetheless. They held the Falcons to 28 percent shooting in the game and 12 points in the first half, tying a school record for fewest points allowed before halftime.
Air Force made four field goals in the first half, and three of those were lay-ups. The other came on a 3-point shot - the only one of 13 the Falcons took that went in. The Falcons also managed just two offensive rebounds.
"I'm not sure we can play a whole lot better defensively than we did in the first half," Hewitt said.
Georgia Tech shot 60 percent from the floor in the meantime. Center Luke Schenscher led the Jackets in scoring with 15 points, followed by B.J. Elder with 11.
The Yellow Jackets had it so easy offensively they attempted only two 3-point shots and snapped their streak of 546 consecutive games with at least one 3-point basket.
"There really wasn't a need for 3-pointers," Elder said. "Luke was getting lay-ups right at the basket. If you can get lay-ups, why take a three?"
Georgia Tech led 32-12 at halftime and coasted through the second half. Georgia Tech committed 13 turnovers after halftime but maintained a double-digit lead throughout the game.
"I thought we got disrupted by their defense," Air Force coach Chris Mooney said. "I was frustrated because we couldn't make a shot and because we weren't putting forth our best effort."
Air Force center Nick Welch scored 16 points to lead his team. He was the only Falcon to score more than six points.
The game is good prep for the Jackets' two meetings with N.C. State later this season. The Wolfpack have won the past four meetings with Georgia Tech, dating back to a 2003 meeting at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
"N.C State runs the same offense and they've had their way with us the last four or five times," Hewitt said. "I can't say it's my preference to play a team like (Air Force), but it helps us down the road."
Peach bowl classic
Here's a look at how Georgia Tech has fared in the tournament, formerly the Delta Classic for Kids:
Source: Georgia Tech Media Guide
Reach Adam Van Brimmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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