Superb free throw shooting and solid defense were the difference as the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defeated the Oklahoma State Cowboys 64-59 in the opening round of the NCAA tournament on Friday night at the Bradley Center.
The Yellow Jackets made 24-of-25 free throws for the game and won despite not scoring a field goal in the last eight minutes.
"They were falling tonight," said Georgia Tech forward Gani Lawal who hit both of his attempts at the charity stripe. "We've had some tough nights this year, but we had a good night tonight. We're going to keep practicing doing what we're doing and hopefully they keep going in like this."
The inside presence of Georgia Tech's big men gave Oklahoma State fits. Lawal and freshman Derrick Favors combined for 26 points and 15 rebounds in the win.
The story for the Cowboys was James Anderson. Averaging better than 22 points per game combining into Friday night's matchup, the junior forward scored just 11 points on 3-of-12 shooting.
"I think that coach had a great game plan for me, but I just didn't want to rush no shots that would hurt our team," said Anderson. "I just felt like I couldn't get it off fast enough. They kept trying to crowd me. Every time I drove, they kind of shadowed me. And I just didn't want to rush no shots for our team."
Trailing by seven late in the first half and five at the break, Georgia Tech brought the game to a tie at 41 using an 8-3 run to begin the second half.
Both teams traded points the rest of the way until the clutch free throw shooting of Georgia Tech put them ahead for good.
Freshman Glen Rice Jr. added a spark for Georgia Tech scoring 9 points including a four point play at the 17:33 mark of the second half.. Sophomore Iman Shumpert also poured in 9.
Marshall Moses scored 14 points to lead the Cowboys. Sophomore guard Keiton Paige added in 13, Anderson scored 11 and Obi Muonelo chipped in with 10.
Georgia Tech will face the winner of Ohio State and UCSB on Sunday.
Free throws, defense lead GT past Oklahoma St
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