ATLANTA - When Georgia Tech built a 30-point lead Tuesday night with four minutes remaining, coach Paul Hewitt did unheralded Lafayette a favor and put most of his starting lineup back on the floor.
The ninth-ranked Yellow Jackets easily beat the Leopards 92-58 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, but the victory did little to offer any real confidence in the starting five, especially with a trip to second-ranked Kansas coming Saturday.
The Georgia Tech bench not only kept the Yellow Jackets in the game during the first half, but also triggered a second-half surge against a team that doesn't award scholarships and fell to 3-7.
"We need the freshmen to step up," said senior center Luke Schenscher, who joined the other Georgia Tech starters to hit only 17 of 42 shots.
The freshmen - Anthony Morrow, Ra'Sean Dickey and Zam Fredrick - did exactly that, combining for 41 points.
"This is an excellent basketball team and when they started to go on their run, we just lost our poise," Lafayette coach Fran O'Hanlon said. "We didn't know about (Morrow, Dickey and Fredrick); we didn't know their names. But we knew they had some good athletes on the bench."
If not, the Yellow Jackets may not have improved to 9-1.
Morrow scored a career-high 20 points with six 3-pointers. Dickey added 15 points and Fredrick scored six. In all, the Georgia Tech bench out-scored the starters 47-45 despite playing 46 fewer combined minutes. More impressive, the reserves hit 18 of 31 shots.
Reach Don Coble at firstname.lastname@example.org.