HONOLULU (AP) — Michael Devoe scored 18 points and Moses Wright added 16 to help Georgia Tech rally past Hawaii 70-53 for third place in the Diamond Head Classic Wednesday.
The Yellow Jackets (6-6) shot 50% and erased a nine-point, second-half deficit to hand the Rainbow Warriors (8-5) their second straight loss.
Hawaii was outscored 41-21 in the second half, when it shot just 22.2% from the field. It was 16-of-44 shooting (36.4%) for the game.
“Who we are and what we’re about is defensive intensity,” Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said. “We gotta try to hold teams under 40% from the field and 30% from 3 and we accomplished that feat and that’s why we won the game.”
Georgia Tech took the lead for good, 49-48, with 8:17 remaining on a Wright bucket inside. It was part of a 21-2 run, capped by a pair of free throws by James Banks III to stretch the lead to 68-50 with 1:17 left to play.
Banks scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds. The Yellow Jackets shot 14 of 16 from the free-throw line after halftime and finished 18 of 23 from the stripe.
“I thought James Banks gave us great energy and minutes in the second half. I thought Michael Devoe had some really good plays, Jose just led us the right way, I thought Bubba Parham was outstanding, he was just solid, Moses Wright again was just really good for us. It was just a good team win,” Pastner said.
Drew Buggs had nine points for Hawaii.
Hawaii closed out the first half on a 7-0 run to take a 32-29 lead at the intermission.
Georgia Tech committed 14 turnovers, but only five came after halftime. The Yellow Jackets turned it over a season-low nine times in Monday’s 70-59 loss to Houston.
Hawaii shot just 1 of 15 on 3-pointers in the loss (6.7%), which came two days after it went 9 of 39 from beyond the arc in a 72-61 loss to No. 21 Washington.
“I thought we played a good first half and started the second half the right way. We were up nine and then the wheels fell off a little bit and we didn’t respond the right way, but all credit to Georgia Tech, they toughened up when they needed to and we will learn from it and get better,” Hawaii acting coach Chris Gerlufson said.
Georgia Tech’s Jordan Usher was ejected with 9:27 left to play when he was whistled for a flagrant-2 foul after getting tangled up with Hawaii’s Dawson Carper. Hawaii tied it at 47 when Carper hit one of two free throws, but the Yellow Jackets clamped down on defense and separated with their big second-half run.
“When Jordan got that flagrant-2 our defense kind of even ratcheted up another step. It’s interesting in sports, Jordan goes out and it might have given us a spark because another guy goes in and the chemistry of it all (changes) because instead of us playing small, we went big when Jordan went out and actually it ended up being in our favor,” Pastner said.
Georgia Tech: Picks up ACC play Tuesday at No. 17 Florida State and closes out a slate of five games away from home at North Carolina on Jan. 4. The Yellow Jackets have lost their last three games against the Seminoles, who own a 42-28 advantage in the series.
Hawaii: Will host Maine Sunday in its final non-conference game. The teams have a common opponent in No. 21 Washington. The Huskies beat Maine 72-53 on Nov. 19 in Seattle and handed the Rainbow Warriors a 72-61 loss Monday.
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