Elder scores 17
ATLANTA -- Georgia Tech was worried about getting beat by one player. The Yellow Jackets made sure it didn't happen.
B.J. Elder scored 17 points and Georgia Tech held Brad Boyd to 2-of-12 shooting, cruising to a 79-45 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette to open the Preseason National Invitation Tournament on Thursday.
Boyd scored 33 points, making nine 3-pointers, in an upset of Mississippi State last season. He didn't get a chance to duplicate that performance.
With four different players guarding the Lafayette star, Boyd had nearly as many turnovers (five) as points (six). He played only 25 minutes, sent to the bench when he kept misfiring.
"We weren't going to have one guy guard him," Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt said. "We wanted a committee of guys with fresh legs and long arms. We were determined to make him take tough shots."
The Yellow Jackets (1-0) will host Hofstra, a 79-74 winner over Marist, in the second round Thursday.
Georgia Tech had no trouble with the undermanned Ragin' Cajuns (0-1), who used only eight players and had no one on the bench with any Division I experience.
Five Lafayette players, including former Georgia Tech signee Michael Southall, are ineligible for the fall semester. The Yellow Jackets took full advantage, keeping plenty of fresh players on the court.
While four Lafayette players went at least 36 minutes, Georgia Tech had no one who played more than 33 and seven others who worked between 19 and 26 minutes.
Georgia Tech shot 53 percent from the field and dominated the boards (45-29). The only major flaw for the Yellow Jackets: 4-of-10 shooting at the foul line.
The Ragin' Cajuns hit only 15-of-55 from the field, a dismal 27 percent.
"I did not see a whole bunch of bright spots," coach Jessie Evans said. "I thought we got impatient, and we took shots with hands in our faces."
Georgia Tech felt no immediate impact from the loss of 6-foot-10 forward Chris Bosh, who left school after just one season to enter the NBA draft. He was picked fourth overall and now plays for the Toronto Raptors.
"Obviously, we are kind of small this year," Anthony McHenry said. "Our main goal is to outrun people."
But Hewitt took exception with those who have predicted a mediocre season with Bosh's defection to the NBA and the loss of another big man, Ed Nelson, who transferred to Connecticut.
"Sure, we're unproven in the frontcourt, but we've got good players," Hewitt said. "I get amused when I hear that no one is left at Georgia Tech."
Elder had 11 points in the first half and the Yellow Jackets closed with a 26-11 run, going to the locker room with a 38-21 lead. The Cajuns made only 6-of-24 shots before the break.
Georgia Tech pushed the margin as high as 36 points in the closing minutes.
Yellow Jackets center Luke Schenscher took a nasty lick just above the right eye while going up for a shot midway through the second half. No foul was called, but Schenscher left the game with blood rolling down his cheek.
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press
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