Friday , Mar , 19 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Georgia Tech holds off Northern Iowa

Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) – Luke Schenscher scored 13 points and B.J.
Elder added 12, as Georgia Tech withstood a late rally and pulled out a 65-60
victory over Northern Iowa in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the
Bradley Center.

Georgia Tech (24-9), seeded third in the St. Louis bracket, will next play
sixth-seeded Boston College, a 58-51 winner over Utah in an earlier first-
round game. The Yellow Jackets, playing in the NCAA Tournament for the first
time since 2001, won a tourney game for the first time since 1996.

David Gruber scored 16 points and Matt Schneiderman added 15 for Northern
Iowa. The Panthers (21-10), winners of the Missouri Valley Tournament, were
making their second appearance in the NCAA Tournament and first since 1990.

Georgia Tech led by three with 19 seconds left and Jarrett Jack missed the
front end of a one-and-one to give Northern Iowa a chance to tie.

Ben Jacobson took a tough shot from the left corner with a hand in his face
and the ball hit the back of the rim. Jack grabbed the rebound and this time
hit both free throws to seal the contest.

“You kind of get used to seeing Ben Jacobson making those type of shots,” said
Gruber. “We’re confident in him shooting the ball every time.”

Jacobson, the team’s leading scorer at 14.1 ppg, finished with only nine after
hitting just 2-of-14 shots from the field. Erik Crawford scored 12 points for
Northern Iowa.

Jack, who made 4-of-5 from the line, finished with six points. Will Bynum
added 11 points in the victory, while Anthony McHenry chipped in 10.

Tech’s biggest lead of the second half was eight with just over nine minutes
left, but the Yellow Jackets went cold and the Panthers were able to chip
away.

A dunk by McHenry gave Tech its only points in the next eight minutes and a
three-pointer by Schneiderman with 2:15 remaining pulled Northern Iowa within
59-57.

Elder then missed a three-pointer, but the Yellow Jackets were able to track
down the long rebound and Elder hit a short jumper with 1:07 left to extend
the lead to four points.

“I saw it come up long and I was able to run down the rebound and get another
possession for us,” Elder said.

After a miss by Jacobson, Schenscher made two free throws to give Tech a 63-57
lead. Crawford followed with a three-pointer to make it a three-point game
with 24 seconds left.

The Panthers shot just 38.9 percent from the field, but kept themselves in the
game by making 10-of-27 from three-point range.

“I couldn’t be more proud of my team,” said Northern Iowa head coach Greg
McDermott. “I couldn’t be more proud of the effort they gave. The effort and
the execution to start the second half…that’s what it has been about.”

Northern Iowa scored the first eight points out of the halftime break and a
three-pointer by Brooks McKowen capped a 15-2 run to give the Panthers a 42-41
lead just four minutes into the second half.

Tech, though, answered with an 11-3 spurt to regain control. Bynum scored five
to key the burst, which McHenry finished with a tip-in to give the Yellow
Jackets a 52-45 lead.

An Elder three-pointer gave Georgia Tech an eight-point margin at 57-49 with
just over nine minutes left.

The Yellow Jackets shot 45.5 percent from the field and finished 9-of-12 from
the free throw line, while also holding a 37-28 edge on the boards.

“I came out of the game very impressed with Northern Iowa,” said Georgia Tech
head coach Paul Hewitt. “They came back and we feel fortunate to win the
game.”

Northern Iowa raced out to a 7-2 lead, but Georgia Tech regrouped and scored
the next nine points. Schenscher had the last four to give the Yellow Jackets
an 11-7 edge.

After a dunk by Grant Stout for the Panthers, Clarence Moore and Elder hit
consecutive three-pointers and Bynum added a bucket to give Tech a 19-9
advantage midway through the opening half.

A three-pointer by Schneiderman stopped the Tech momentum, but only briefly.
The Yellow Jackets responded with 13-3 burst to open a seemingly comfortable
32-15 cushion with 4 1/2 minutes left before the intermission.

However, a couple of three-pointers in the closing minute allowed Northern
Iowa to close within 10 before Jack hit two free throws with nine seconds left
to send Georgia Tech into the break with a 39-27 lead.

Moore finished with nine points for Tech, which last won an NCAA Tournament
game with Stephon Marbury at point guard. Georgia Tech’s victory gave the ACC
a perfect 6-0 mark in the first round of the tourney.

Northern Iowa went 1-1 in its previous NCAA Tournament appearance, beating
Missouri and losing to Minnesota.

GATECH NIOWA