Georgia Tech's Bobby Cremins and Jeff Jones of Virginia are a little perplexed by their respective basketball teams for completely different reasons.
One week ago, Cremins' Yellow Jackets completed a stretch in which they lost to North Carolina State, Wake Forest and Maryland to fall to 13-9.With Top 25 teams Arizona and Virginia coming up, Tech's NCAA tournament hopes were dimming fast.
So Georgia Tech knocked off No. 5 Arizona on Sunday, and on Tuesday night Kenny Anderson scored 33 points to power the Yellow Jackets to a 73-60 victory over No. 20 Virginia at Charlottesville, Va.
"We were a hurting team, and now we've fought back," Cremins said, scratching his head. "After we lost to Maryland, we were down. We looked dead, we looked lifeless, we looked frustrated.
"This team is amazing. This team actually has fought back."
Jones wishes he could say the same of his team.
In the last six games, Virginia has beaten only Clemson, the worst team in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and lowly Fairfield, which this season set a school record for consecutive losses.
To make matters worse, shooting 50 percent from the floor seems like a figure about which the Cavaliers can only dream. They'd probably settle for even 40 percent, a mark they failed to reach Tuesday night for the second consecutive game.
"Georgia Tech is playing with the look and intensity of a very hungry basketball team," Jones said. "That's something we don't have. When I look at the faces of our basketball team, I don't see that. I don't have any answers right now. We'll just have to go back to the drawing board and do some soul searching."
Matt Geiger added 16 points and Jon Barry 11 for the Yellow Jackets (15-9 overall, 6-6 ACC). Anderson contributed seven rebounds, four steals and three assists for Georgia Tech, which shot 60 percent in the second half and 50 percent for the game.
Virginia (19-8, 6-6) shot 36 percent. Kenny Turner led the Cavaliers with 22 points and Bryant Stith had 21.
Jones said poor shot selection by some of the Cavaliers was partially responsible for Georgia Tech getting just its second victory in 13 games at University Hall.
"When you're not shooting the ball well, it comes down to shot selection and getting your best shooters the ball," he said. "We've tried to encourage the other players to shoot and be less predictable on offense, but these players have to know what to do when they're not in the flow of the offense."
Anderson, whose point total was the highest by an opponent in University Hall since North Carolina's Sam Perkins had 36 in 1983, scored 12 in a 17-6 run that put Georgia Tech ahead 54-40 with 9:03 to play.
Virginia cut the deficit to 56-53 with 4:20 left, thanks in part to a technical foul against Georgia Tech's Malcolm Mackey for shoving Turner. The call led to four Virginia points.
"I thought Virginia would make a run," Cremins said. "I've played them enough to know that. But I thought we had control of the game and would keep it even if Virginia made its run.
No. 16 Okla. St. 76. Kansas St. 65
At Manhattan, Kan., Byron Houston, saved from an ejection for fighting by an official's use of a TV replay, scored 22 points as Oklahoma State (19-5 overall, 8-3 Big Eight) climbed within a half-game of Kansas in the Big Eight title chase.
With Oklahoma State leading only 26-24 with 1:49 left in the half, Houston and Kansas State's Wylie Howard got into a scuffle while pushing for position underneath the basket. After reviewing the tape, Howard was ejected from the game for throwing a punch and Houston was assessed an intentional foul for throwing an elbow.
Having Houston around in the second half was crucial for the Cowboys. He scored five points during a 14-4 run that gave Oklahoma State a 57-47 lead and finished Kansas State (12-12, 2-9).
No. 24 Seton Hall 76, Niagara 61
At South Orange, N.J., Terry Dehere scored 19 of his 22 points in the second half to spark the Pirates (17-7) past determined Niagara (7-19).
Niagara had a couple of chances to tie the game early in the second half, and was still within 44-40 with 14:39 to play after a layup by Brian Clifford, who scored 24 points.
Dehere then put the game out of reach, scoring 11 points in a 15-5 burst that Jerry Walker ignited with a rebound layup. Dehere followed with a jumper from the side and two free throws.