Nevada's Magic NCAA Dream Comes Up Short

By  | 

Georgia Tech is so good it didn't even need its leading scorer to reach the regional finals of the NCAA tournament.

Marvin Lewis had 23 points and Will Bynum made a huge layup with 65 seconds left to give the Yellow Jackets a 72-67 victory over Nevada on Friday night in the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament.

The third-seeded Yellow Jackets (26-9) are in the regional finals for just the third time in school history and the first time since 1990.

They'll play fourth-seeded Kansas in the St. Louis Regional final on Sunday. Kansas (24-8) demolished upstart Alabama-Birmingham 100-74 in the early game to advance to the regional finals for a third straight year.

The 10th-seeded Wolf Pack (25-9) knocked off Michigan State and routed Gonzaga to make the round of 16, and it seemed as if another upset was in the making early -- especially with Georgia Tech forced to play without B.J. Elder.

Elder, who is averaging 16.2 points, sprained his right ankle less than two minutes into the game when Kirk Snyder landed on it.


The Wolf Pack led by as much as eight in the first half. But they cooled off in the second and Georgia Tech's stingy defense finally kicked in. The Wolf Pack was a dismal 7-for-33 in the second half, and Snyder was just 2-for-12. Snyder didn't score his first points until there were 6 1/2 minutes left.

Todd Okeson, who had 11 points in the first half, was 1-of-10 in the second, including 0-for-5 from 3-point range.

Lewis made back-to-back 3s to give Georgia Tech a 63-58 lead, its largest of the game, with 5:20 left. But Snyder, so quiet most of the half, came back big. His 3-pointer with 3:26 left pulled the Wolf Pack within 67-65, and he made a pair of free throws 90 seconds later to tie the game.

But then Bynum came up with the play of the night. The 6-foot spark plug hasn't gotten as much playing time as maybe he'd like, playing behind Jarrett Jack. But when he does get the ball, good makes things happen.

Driving hard to the basket, he leaped over Okeson, knocking him over while making the layup. Bynum looked as if he might land on his head, but he somehow managed to right himself while the ball swished through the net to give Georgia Tech a 69-67 lead with 1:04 to play.

The Wolf Pack was forced to foul, and Lewis missed the first, drawing a loud groan from the vocal Georgia Tech contingent. He made the second, giving the Yellow Jackets a 70-67 lead with 49 seconds left.

Nevada had one last chance, but Okeson missed a long 3-pointer. Moore was fouled, and he made the first to seal the victory.

Snyder finished with 21 points and when the final buzzer sounded he sat on the floor, watching the Georgia Tech fans celebrate.

Okeson had 13 points and 10 rebounds.