ATLANTA (AP) — Moses Wright dunked his way to 31 points, tying his season high, and Georgia Tech strengthened its NCAA Tournament chances by beating Syracuse 84-77 on Saturday for the Yellow Jackets’ fourth consecutive win.
Wright scored 19 points and had six of his seven dunks in the second half when the Yellow Jackets (13-8, 9-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) were able to pull away from the Orange (13-8, 7-7), who saw their NCAA chances dissipate further with their second straight loss.
Wright was 14-of-25 shooting with 16 rebounds, including nine on the offensive boards, in posting his fifth double-double in his last 10 games. Jordan Usher added 19 points and six assists and Michael Devoe 18 points and six assists. The Yellow Jackets had 26 assists on 33 field goals and that showed up with 54-24 bulge in points in the paint.
A day after the NCAA overturned multiple sanctions levied against the Georgia Tech men’s basketball program via an appeal ruling, the Yellow Jackets took a needed step on the court in its quest to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 11 years.
Trailing by five at halftime, Georgia Tech grabbed the lead for good on the first of Wright’s second-half dunks to help start off a 30-12 run that ended with the Yellow Jackets ahead 75-61 with 4 1/2 minutes remaining. Syracuse wouldn’t get closer than seven thereafter.
Alan Griffin had four 3-pointers and scored 26 points, Quincy Gerrier added 13 points and Buddy Boeheim, who had a combined 60 points in last two games, finished with 12 for Syracuse. Joe Girard added 10 points.
Wright scored the game’s first two baskets as Georgia Tech jumped out to a 17-5 lead. The lead was 13 before Syracuse responded with a 23-5 run, with eight points each from Griffin and Girard, to finish the half ahead 39-34.
Georgia Tech ensured its first back-to-back ACC winning seasons since 1990.
Syracuse is home for its final two-regular season games, playing North Carolina on Monday and Clemson on Wednesday. Georgia Tech is host to Duke on Tuesday and ends the regular season at Wake Forest on Friday.
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