Momentum on Jackets’ side heading into tourney
by George Henry
Associated Press Sports Writer
March 09, 2014 04:01 AM | 1159 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Robert Carter Jr. goes in for a dunk in Saturday in the second half of Saturday’s game with Virginia Tech. Carter scored 16 points as the Yellow Jackets closed out the regular season with a win and will now prepare for Boston College.
<Br>Associated Press photo
Robert Carter Jr. goes in for a dunk in Saturday in the second half of Saturday’s game with Virginia Tech. Carter scored 16 points as the Yellow Jackets closed out the regular season with a win and will now prepare for Boston College.
Associated Press photo
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ATLANTA — Robert Carter Jr. scored 16 points, Daniel Miller and Trae Golden each added 14 points and Georgia Tech beat Virginia Tech 62-51 Saturday in the regular-season finale for both teams.

Now that Georgia Tech is nearly at full strength, center Miller likes the Yellow Jackets’ chances heading into the ACC tournament.

Carter and Golden are back from injuries, and Kammeon Holsey is playing quality minutes despite an ailing knee.

It’s been a long time coming for the Yellow Jackets, who also lost Jason Morris and Travis Jorgenson to season-injuries by early December.

“(On Saturday), we came out and kept it up,” Miller said. “Trae says he’s full-go now. I thought he looked pretty good. Robert’s playing. Kam has the knee, but he’s always strong for us. It’s a good way to go into the tournament.”

The Yellow Jackets (15-16, 6-12 Atlantic Coast Conference) have won two straight after ending a four-game skid with an upset victory at No. 7 Syracuse on Tuesday.

Joey van Zegeren finished with a career-high 21 points and seven rebounds for Virginia Tech (9-12, 2-16), which has dropped six in a row and 16 of 17.

Coming off the 67-62 win over Syracuse — the most illustrious victory in coach Brian Gregory’s three-year tenure — Georgia Tech never trailed after Golden’s 3-pointer made it 19-18 with 3:40 left in the first half.

Even so, the Jackets began the day 13th in the 15-team ACC and are likely to miss the NCAA tournament and the NIT for the fourth straight year. They have a 16-36 league record under Gregory.

Injuries and inconsistency have hurt Georgia Tech, which will play Boston College in the league tournament, and Virginia Tech, which faces Miami, all season.

Virginia Tech, under second-year coach James Johnson, finished last in the league for the second straight season.

“It’s frustrating, but we’re motivated for the tournament,” van Zegeren said. “We beat Miami twice, so they’re going to be energized to come back at us.”

Carter scored from the left baseline and hit a jumper on consecutive possessions as the Jackets went up by 16.

Johnson sought to calm down the Hokies, calling a timeout with 12:40 remaining. But after Marshall Wood hit a 3 from the left wing for Virginia Tech, Johnson followed with another 30-second timeout 2 minutes later with the Hokies trailing 50-33.

Virginia Tech had a shot clock violation on the ensuing possession, and Carter hit a 19-footer to make it 52-33.

Miller, who had a game-high nine rebounds, hit his first six shots from the field.

The Hokies missed 19 of their first 26 shots before van Zegeren’s layup cut the lead to 25-20 in the final minute of the first half.

Jarell Eddie and Devin Wilson, Virginia Tech’s two leading scorers this season, were a combined 4 for 18 from the field.

Hokies guard Ben Emelogu returned after a four-game absence with an ankle injury, finishing with eight points and hitting a 3 that cut the lead to eight with 4:30 remaining.

But center Cadarian Raines missed the game with an ankle injury, and guard Adam Smith has been sidelined the last 13 games with a stress fracture in his leg.

“I don’t think anyone is discouraged,” Wilson said. “We know we’ve had a rough time with injuries. We’re going to keep fighting no matter what,” Wilson said. “No one has got their head down.”
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