ATLANTA (AP) -- Georgia Tech's freshman class may be good enough
to lead the Yellow Jackets back to elite status.
Freshman Thaddeus Young scored 19 points and classmate Javaris
Crittenton had 18 as Georgia Tech (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today, No. 23 AP) overwhelmed Georgia State
103-74 on Thursday night.
The play of the freshmen has impressed Georgia Tech coach Paul
"[They] have started off good, but are facing an inevitable
adjustment period. If there's no adjustment period, they're even
better than I think," he said.
Lewis Clinch, a sophomore, led Georgia Tech with 20 points, but
Young and Crittenton combined to make 8 of 9 3-pointers and grab
the attention of Georgia State coach Michael Perry.
"They make plays that are sometimes indefensible," Perry said
of the two freshmen.
Georgia Tech is starting three freshmen, including center Zach
Peacock, and Perry said the infusion of talent will make a big
difference for a team that fell to 11-17 last season.
"I thought they were as good or better than the Final Four team
they had a couple years ago," Perry said, referring to Hewitt's
2003-04 team that lost to Connecticut in the national championship
Georgia Tech (3-0) made 13 of 24 3-pointers to easily win the
first game between the Atlanta schools in 13 years.
With 10 players each logging at least 10 minutes, Hewitt took
advantage of his team's depth to put the game away in the first
half with constant full-court pressure defense.
Georgia State (0-2) led 8-5 before Tech took command with a 19-0
run. Crittenton hit two 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the run.
Crittenton scored all of his 18 points in the first half, going
7-for-7 from the field. He hit three 3-pointers as the Yellow
Jackets were 8-for-13 from behind the arc while building a 58-30
"A lot of the shots came off good penetration," Crittenton
said. "We just did a good job of rotating and passing the ball to
each other and when the opportunity came, we knocked down shots."
Crittenton led Tech with nine assists. The Yellow Jackets
committed only 10 turnovers.
Young picked up the scoring pace in the second half, making all
four of his 3-pointers.
Perry said he knew his team couldn't match Tech's depth, so the
Panthers tried to force the Yellow Jackets into a half-court game.
Tech answered that challenge with the 3-pointers.
"There isn't a lot of defense when a 6-5 guy [Crittenton] jumps
up over your guards and shoots it from 3 and then when a 6-9 guy
[Young] jumps up and shoots it from 3," Perry said. "They are a
very difficult team to guard."
Georgia Tech, coming off a 100-70 win over Jackson State, scored
100 points in back-to-back games for the first time in 12 years.
Even so, Hewitt was critical of his team's poor passing and shot
selection in the second half.
Jeremis Smith, a junior and the only upperclassman in Tech's
starting lineup, had 12 points.
Hewitt said Smith, Clinch, Anthony Morrow (10 points), Ra'Sean
Dickey (seven rebounds) and other returning veterans have
"absolutely" accepted the freshmen. But the coach said the team
ultimately will lean on the older players.
"If we're going to be any good, it's because of the core of the
team," Hewitt said. "The returning guys are really going to have
to carry us."
The two Atlanta schools met for the first time since a Tech win
on Dec. 4, 1993. Tech is 15-2 in the series with the Panthers.