Tech wins at Dean Dome for first time since ‘96

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- After the mood swings Georgia Tech has ridden for two weeks, surviving the highs and lows of one game against No. 12 North Carolina on Saturday must have felt normal.

When the Dean Smith Center went from shockingly quiet much of the afternoon to ear-splitting in the last four minutes, the Yellow Jackets took a collective gulp and kept coming. They didn't stop until they had won 73-71 for their first victory in Chapel Hill since 1996.

Tech (13-4, 2-2 ACC) got a career-high 30 points from sophomore Iman Shumpert and a game-winning drive from senior Zachery Peacock to hand the Tar Heels (12-6, 1-2) their third loss in four games.

"Coach [Paul Hewitt] was telling us before the game, we've got to be a little bit more mad about losing to Virginia than they were about losing to Clemson," Shumpert said. "I think we matched the intensity pretty well."

In two weeks the Yellow Jackets have beaten Duke and North Carolina and lost to Georgia and Virginia. They know enough now to, at the very least, savor the highs.

While winning their first ACC road game in two years, the Yellow Jackets snapped their longest current losing streak at any ACC venue at 12 games.

"Come into the Dean Dome and get a win?" said Gani Lawal, who had 12 points and 12 rebounds. "Enough said."

The Yellow Jackets will have to work on the lows going forward, not that they have any "easy" games any time soon with No. 24 Clemson and No. 25 Florida State coming up.

"We know we're a good team," said Shumpert, who made 10 of 17 shots from the floor, 3 of 5 3-pointers and 7 of 9 free throws. "Until we prove it to ourselves we're a great team, it's not going to be as great a season as it's supposed to be. We've got to make sure we play like this every game."

Tech played a first half to revel in, leading by as many as 20 points and holding the Tar Heels in single-digit scoring until 12 minutes into the game. After Brian Oliver made his second consecutive 3-pointer, Tech was up 24-8, and Tar Heels coach Roy Williams was turning around to tap five new shoulders on the bench.

But Carolina came back using the foul line as a weapon, making 14 of 16 free throws in the second half. Will Graves made one dagger 3-pointer after another, moving farther out on the right wing each time.

Graves, who finished with a career-high 24 points, put the Tar Heels up for the first time since the first minute of the game with his 3-pointer at 4:31. Then his 24-footer with 1:48 left had the Tar Heels up 69-67 and their fans in a frenzy.

"Every one he put up there, it seemed like they were up there for about a half hour," Hewitt said.

The lead changed hands twice more, with Carolina taking the lead 71-70 on a Travis Wear turnaround. Then, coming out of its final timeout, Tech turned to Peacock.

Peacock faked a pass to Lawal, with too much Ed Davis in the way to make a safe connection, and drove from the top of the key. His shot took two bounces on the rim and fell in to put Tech up 72-71 with 25.7 seconds left. They were only the fifth and sixth points of the game for Tech's sixth man.

D'Andre Bell made one of two three throws with 3.4 seconds left, and Shumpert finally got Graves to miss on an airball 3-point attempt at the buzzer.

Peacock said he talked Hewitt into changing the play from "three out" to "three up."

"I feel like it works every time because our guard is coming off that screen," Peacock said. "Normally the defending bigs go with them, and that leaves me coming up for the trail three or a shot fake, two dribbles and getting to the lane as I did tonight."