ATLANTA, Georgia - The UNCW men's basketball team's first introduction to Georgia Tech's posh, $50 million Hank McCamish Pavilion will not soon be forgotten.
The Seahawks fought from behind to take the lead late in the second half before the Yellow Jackets outscored UNCW, 16-4, over the final five minutes to pull out a 73-66 victory before 5.982 fans on a rainy night in Georgia.
Georgia Tech won for the third time in four games to push its record to 6-2, including 4-0 at the refurbished 8,600-seat arena. The Seahawks dipped to 4-5 on the season with the non-conference loss to the Yellow Jackets of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
"I'm proud of the effort of our guys," said Peterson. "We've improved a lot in the last couple weeks. We just have to be smart on the road."
Freshman forward Robert Carter, Jr., anchored three players in double figures for Tech with 19 points, followed by junior center Daniel Miller with 12 points and freshman guard Marcus Georges-Hunt with 10.
Junior college transfer Chris Dixon poured in a career-high 20 points and junior guard Tanner Milson chipped in 16 for the Seahawks, who were limited to 28 percent shooting in the second half as Tech rallied from behind.
"Georgia Tech stayed in there and scrapped," added Peterson. "Our guards kind of wore down. Chris (Dixon) did a good job of keeping us in the game."
In only the fourth meeting ever between the two schools and the first since Jan. 19, 1995, the Seahawks took a 36-35 advantage at intermission and opened up their largest lead of the game, 62-57, with 5:20 left to go. Reserve forward Nate Anderson drained the second of his two three-pointers to push UNCW out to a five-point margin at the five-minute mark.
But Tech reeled off nine straight points as part of a 16-4 run the rest of the way to improve to 4-0 all-time against UNCW. Hunt, Tech's leading scorer entering the game at 12.0 ppg, did not score until 4:54 in the contest, but he connected on a gliding layup and added a pair of free throws to jumpstart the decisive spurt by the Yellow Jackets.
UNCW did not score a field goal in the final 5:20 as Tech tightened up defensively and rode the play of Georges-Hunt, Carter, Jr., and Miller in the closing minutes.
Tech came out hot early and built a 13-7 advantage at the first media time out after connecting on six of its first 12 field goal attempts. With the game tied at 5-all, the Yellow Jackets scored eight of the next 10 points and Julian Royal connected on back-to-back baskets to give Tech a 13-7 edge at 12:49.
Tech stretched the margin to as many as nine points in the opening period before the Seahawks closed out the first half strong. Chris Bolden hit a triple form the left wing and added a jumper in the paint to give Tech its largest lead of the half, 20-11, at 9:27.
The Seahawks chipped away at the deficit and finally took the lead going into the break. Anderson sank a long three-ball on the left elbow and after Keith Rendleman blocked Miller's shot on the other end of the floor, Milson gave the Seahawks a 36-35 edge at halftime when he banked in a jumper on the left side with 1.6 seconds left.
The Seahawks return home to tackle fall semester exams and return to the court next Saturday, Dec. 15, with a 7 p.m. tip-off at Davidson. The Yellow Jackets entertain Alabama State on Dec. 17 at 7 p.m.
GAME NOTES: The Seahawks are now 14-18 in non-conference games under Peterson and 3-14 on the road...Peterson stands 3-11 against ACC opponents and 1-3 against Tech....The CAA is 2-5 against the ACC this season...UNCW will return to Atlanta on Jan. 23 to face CAA rival Georgia State at the GSU Sports Arena...The contest was one of four road games in December for the Seahawks...UNCW 36-35 halftime lead marked only the third time this season the Seahawks have held an advantage at intermission....UNCW fell to 2-35 lifetime against the ACC...UNCW committed a season-low 13 turnovers...UNCW's bench contributed exactly half of the Seahawks' point total...UNCW's guards scored 43 of UNCW's 66 points.