March 22, 2004

(3) Georgia Tech 57, (6) Boston Coll. 54

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The only thing Jarrett Jack could have done better was run out the clock.

Quiet for most of the second half, Jack had a big steal and a breakaway dunk with less than six seconds left to help give Georgia Tech a 57-54 victory over Boston College in the NCAA tournament Sunday.

The third-seeded Yellow Jackets advanced to the regional semifinals for the first time since 1996. They'll play 10th-seeded Nevada, fresh off upsets of Gonzaga and Michigan State, on Friday in the St. Louis Regional.

``This is the reason I came here,'' said Jack, a sophomore who was one of the top prep point guards in the country. ``This is the point we wanted to get the program back to.''

Jack finished with eight points, six rebounds and six assists. B.J. Elder led the Yellow Jackets (25-9) with 18 points, while Anthony McHenry scored 10.

Jared Dudley had 13 points for No. 6-seeded Boston College (24-10), but it wasn't enough to make up for the subpar performances of leading scorer Craig Smith and senior Uka Agbai. The two average more than 28 points a game, but they didn't come anywhere close to that after spending much of the day in foul trouble.

Smith, who averaged 19.3 points and 11 rebounds in Boston College's first four postseason games, finished with just two points on 1-of-4 shooting. His only basket came with 5:15 left, and he fouled out with about 30 seconds left. Agbai had eight points, all in the final 15 minutes.

The Eagles also had 22 turnovers and were 9-of-15 from the free throw line.

``They have a lot of athletes,'' Agbai said. ``They seem like a bunch of track stars out there. But it was our turnovers that led to a lot of those fast breaks.''

Still, Boston College gave the Yellow Jackets everything they could handle.

Georgia Tech jumped out to an 11-point lead early in the second half and led by eight with 8:40 to play. But after Elder's 3-pointer with 6:01 left gave the Yellow Jackets a 53-48 lead, they didn't make another field goal until Jack's breakaway basket with about five seconds left.

With the Eagles trailing by one, freshman guard Steve Hailey tried to drive the ball inside, only to find Georgia Tech's 7-foot-1 center, Luke Schenscher, blocking his way. Hailey had no choice but to pass the ball, and Jack was right there to intercept it.

``He had nothing else,'' Schenscher said. ``He had no other options, and Jarrett ... anticipated the play.''

Said Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt: ``We always talk about helping the helper. It's one of those times where what the coach tells you sticks in your head.''

Jack grabbed the ball and, with Georgia Tech fans screaming, took it down for a thunderous dunk. It was his first bucket since three minutes into the second half.

``It was a great play,'' McHenry said. ``I told him I wish he would have run the clock out, but it was good.''

Hewitt tried to tell Jack to dribble out the clock, but he couldn't hear because of the crowd noise.

``I didn't know how close anyone was,'' Jack said. ``So I thought I might as well go in and get the easy two and get a three-point lead.''

It left Boston College one last chance, but Jermaine Watson's 3-point attempt skidded around the rim before falling off at the buzzer.

``He had a good look,'' Dudley said. ``Jermaine will knock that down nine out of 10 times. It just didn't fall that time.''

The schools' first meeting since the second round of the 1996 NCAA tournament -- Georgia Tech won that one, too -- was supposed to be a defensive battle. The Yellow Jackets limit opponents to less than 39 percent shooting, while Boston College is right around the 40 percent mark.

But while each team harassed the other, stuck hands in faces and generally made a nuisance of itself, both shot better than 48 percent. Georgia Tech even made its first six shots on its way to an early 16-5 lead.

An 18-6 run spanning halftime gave the Yellow Jackets a 44-33 lead with 16:15 left. But Boston College refused to go quietly, tying the game at 53 on Dudley's 3-pointer with 2:48 left.

``You can't tell me when we were down double digits in the second half that anyone thought we'd have a one-point lead with 30 seconds to go,'' Boston College coach Al Skinner said. ``We put ourselves in position to win, and that's all you can ask.''

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