Myles Kelly scored 25 points and Deebo Coleman added 17 to lead Georgia Tech past Georgia Southern 84-62 on Monday inside McCamish Pavilion, handing Damon Stoudamire a win in his Tech coaching debut in front of Tech athletic director J Batt, Tech president Angel Cabrera and Atlanta mayor Andre Dickens.

Stoudamire, hired in March to take over for the fired Josh Pastner, saw his team use a 21-9 run late to pull away from Southern. The Eagles trailed just 52-50 with less than 10 minutes to play, but a barrage of 3s and some increased defensive pressure by the Yellow Jackets turned the course of play.

“I love our group. I think they’re starting to buy-in,” Stoudamire said. “I think that they see that the things that we do work when we execute it and when we play together.”

The Jackets (1-0) chucked up 29 3-pointers, making 13, and shot 56.7% in the second half. They also had 17 assists on 27 made field goals and overcame 13 turnovers and 10 missed free throws.

Kowacie Reeves chipped in 15 points and Tyzhaun Claude had a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds.

“That’s what I kind of hang my hat on no matter what,” Claude said of his rebounds. “Offensively if I’m making shots or missing shots I know I can impact the game by rebounding. Every game, every practice that’s what I’m going to do for my team - make sure we get extra possessions to help us win.”

Tech returns to McCamish Pavilion at 7:30 p.m. Thursday to host Howard (1-0).

Monday night got off to an awfully slow start for the Jackets who missed nine of their first 10 shots (as well as two free throws) to fall in an 8-2 hole during the first seven minutes of play. Coleman’s 3 from the left corner broke a scoreless drought of 5:01 for the Jackets.

Southern wasn’t faring much better as it went five minutes without a field goal before Jamar Franklin’s turnaround layup put the visitors up 10-6.

Tech took its first lead of the night when Amaree Abram netted at 3 from the left corner, making it 12-9. The Eagles came right back to go up 16-15 on Cam Bryant’s four-point play.

Kelly’s fast-break layup was part of a short 5-0 run for Tech and put the Jackets up 26-22 at the 4:25 mark. Claude extended that lead to 28-22 with a couple pivots on the left block before putting in a layup .

Southern fought back to get within one on three different occasions and that’s where the margin stood going into the break with Tech up 32-31. The Jackets shot 32.1% from the floor, missed seven free throws and turned the ball over eight times. Southern finished just 10 of 30 from the field and committed 13 fouls over the first 20 minutes.

“It was great to see us come out in the second half and play the way we did. I was really disappointed in our offense the first half,” Stoudamire said. “I just think we shared the ball and that’s one of the things that I really emphasized all summer, all fall, to have great ball movement and I was really disappointed at that. When we don’t share the ball, we’re not a good team.”

The first five minutes of the second half saw four lead changes before three straight Coleman free throws gave the Jackets a 47-44 lead. Coleman’s 3 out of the left corner put Tech ahead 52-48 with 11:56 on the clock.

Coleman’s third triple of the night gave the Jackets their biggest lead of the contest, 58-50, with nine minutes to go. Two minutes later, running the fast break, Coleman took a dish from Kyle Sturdivant and slammed home a one-handed dunk making it 63-52.

Southern didn’t have a run left in its arsenal from there. When the dust settled, Tech had outscored Southern 32-12 over the final 10:04.

“I think we created our offense. We’re best when we create our offense through our defense,” Sturdivant said. “When we get stops and run in transition that doesn’t put so much pressure on having to execute as much and I feel like we’re one of the best teams when we convert, get stops, rebound and run.”

Franklin led Southern (0-1) with 17 points. The Eagles, playing without three players, including Ohio State transfer and Southwest DeKalb graduate Eugene Brown, fell to 2-5 all-time against Tech.

Georgia Southern received $85,000 from Tech in agreeing to play Monday’s game.