Georgia Tech Ousts No. 1 Seed UNC Behind Bynum's Career Perfomance
March 12, 2005
WASHINGTON (AP) - Second-ranked North Carolina couldn't stop Georgia Tech's Will Bynum, so the Tar Heels must wait at least another year to capture the suddenly elusive Atlantic Coast Conference title.
Bynum scored a career-high 35 points, and the Yellow Jackets advanced to the ACC championship game with a stunning 78-75 upset of the top-seeded Tar Heels on Saturday.
After Bynum capped his magnificent performance by making two foul shots with nine seconds left, a 3-point try by North Carolina's Rashad McCants bounced off the rim and into the waiting arms of Tech's Jarrett Jack, who clutched the ball until time expired.
Fifth-seeded Georgia Tech, which lost to North Carolina by 22 during the regular season, will play for the league title Sunday against the winner of the Duke-North Carolina State game.
The Yellow Jackets (19-10) will be seeking their first ACC crown in 12 years. Georgia Tech is in the title game for the first time since 1996.
North Carolina (27-4) finished alone atop the regular-season standings for the first time since 1993. No team has won more ACC titles than the Tar Heels (15), but North Carolina has now gone seven years without one.
Sean May had 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Tar Heels, whose eight-game winning streak ended. McCants and Raymond Felton also scored 17.
Luke Schenscher had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Georgia Tech, which lost in the second round of the ACC tournament last year but advanced to the national championship game.
Down 42-36 at the break, North Carolina rode the play of the suddenly aggressive May to get back into it. The 6-foot-9 center opened the second half with a follow after battling the 7-1 Schenscher under the basket, then added a layup and jumper off the glass during a 9-4 spurt that got the Tar Heels to 46-45.
Minutes later, May made a tip-in and a 5-foot hook shot to put North Carolina up 51-50, its first lead since 18-17. Bynum then scored 11 of Tech's next 15 points to make it 65-60, and the Yellow Jackets maintained their tenuous lead to the finish.
Despite missing 17 of 26 field-goal tries, the Tar Heels went 13-for-15 at the foul line and trailed by only six at halftime.
There were three ties and three lead changes in the opening seven minutes, a strong indication that this would be a closer game than when the teams met in January. On that day, North Carolina built a 16-point halftime lead and cruised to a 91-69 victory.
The rematch was no mismatch. The Tar Heels led 18-17 before a three-point play by Schenscher sparked a 12-2 run that put Georgia Tech up by nine. With six minutes left in the half, North Carolina had more turnovers than baskets (7-6).
After the Tar Heels closed to 32-28, Tech's Jeremis Smith scored on a drive and added two free throws to start a 10-5 spree capped by a Bynum shot from beyond the arc.
Bynum finished 10-for-21 from the field and 10-for-12 at the line. He also made half his 10 attempts from beyond the 3-point line.