With a major boost from forward Quinton Stephens, Georgia Tech staved off Georgia to win its fourth consecutive game over the Bulldogs, an 80-73 result in the season opener for both teams Friday night at McCamish Pavilion.
Stephens, making his first career start, dropped 22 points on the Bulldogs, including six 3-pointers on eight shots, all career highs. On back-to-back possessions starting at the 6:02 mark, he hit 3-pointers to push the lead from 66-60 to 72-62.
Georgia’s only lead was 6-5 in the first three minutes of the game. The Bulldogs fell behind by as many as 16 in the first half and 13 in the second, but closed to within three at 74-71 with 34 seconds to play, but didn’t have a possession to tie.
Tech (1-0) had not beaten Georgia (0-1) four games in a row since the Jackets swept the Bulldogs in the 1963 and 1964 seasons, their final seasons in the SEC.
Georgia guard Kenny Gaines, who had been held out of practice recently with mononucleosis, came off the bench and scored two points in seven minutes in the first half before finishing with 11 points. Forward Nemanja Djurisic led the Bulldogs with 18 points.
Tech forward Charles Mitchell, in his first game for the Jackets after transferring from Maryland over the summer to be closer to his ailing grandmother, gave 20 points and added a game-high nine rebounds.