ATLANTA - Georgia Tech got some bad news Tuesday when it was announced that senior center Ra'Sean Dickey wouldn't play this season.
Once the game against Kansas began, the Yellow Jackets were in for more disappointment.
Georgia Tech, coming off a 12-day break for semester exams, gave the third-ranked Jayhawks a major scare, but ended up with nothing more than another loss.
Kansas (11-0) saw a 13-point lead shrink to a point with 9.2 seconds left, but held on for a 71-66 victory at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
With a chance to tie the game with a 3-pointer in the final seconds, the Yellow Jackets couldn't even get off a shot.
Sherron Collins, who had made two foul shots with 8.2 seconds remaining, took away a ball that Matt Causey seemed to fumble and made a layup at the buzzer to wrap up the Jayhawks' hard-earned victory.
"(Collins) may get credit for a steal, but I think (Causey) just mishandled it," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "There were a lot of mishandled balls on both sides."
"It was really just a misread," Causey said of the play.
Causey, a senior point guard from Berkmar in his first season with the Yellow Jackets, had helped fuel the comeback. He hit a late 3-pointer and also stole a pass for an easy score.
"The game isn't over until the final horn and we kept fighting," said Causey, who finished with nine points despite foul trouble that limited him to 14 minutes. "Being encouraged by a close loss won't get you anywhere, but there were some good things we can take from this game and hopefully build on."
All but two NBA teams had representatives at the game and none of them were scouting the Yellow Jackets. In the end though, Georgia Tech (4-5) earned some respect and maybe got at least a little bit of encouragement for the rest of the season.
Georgia Tech played much better defensively than they had in the first eight games, but still struggled offensively against the Jayhawks' height and quickness for most of the game.
The only time that Georgia Tech fans had much to cheer about was in the closing minutes and when new football coach Paul Johnson was introduced and spoke briefly at halftime. The crowd let out a mighty roar, then returned to near silence for long stretches.
Maybe Kansas also fell asleep for a while.
Still up by 11 with just over 3 minutes left, the Jayhawks missed crucial free throws and almost let the game slip away.
Two foul shots by Anthony Morrow with 9.2 seconds left drew Georgia Tech within a point. But Kansas finally converted at the line, with Collins hitting twice with 8.2 seconds left.
Then came the heartbreaking mishap at the end that kept the Yellow Jackets from a chance to tie.
Russell Robinson scored 17 to lead Kansas, while Collins, Brandon Rush and Mario Chalmers had 11 each.
Lewis Clinch had a game-high 22 points for Georgia Tech, while Morrow had 12. Freshman Gani Lawal of Norcross got his second start, but had just four points and two rebounds in 14 minutes.
Georgia Tech shot 52.2 percent, but turned the ball over 18 times. That led to 29 Kansas points and was the difference in the game.
Now the Yellow Jackets get by without a lift from the return of Dickey.
The 6-foot-10 native of Clio, S.C., averaged 13.2 points as a sophomore and 8.1 last season, hitting 60.1 percent of his shots during his career. But he was academically ineligible for the first semester this year and decided to redshirt this season when the tendonitis in his right knee didn't improve.
"Ra'Sean is just not healthy," coach Paul Hewitt said. "He's experiencing severe tendonitis in one knee and also has problems with his other knee from a past injury."
"I've decided that it's best for me to ... concentrate on my academics and do everything I can to get healthy," said Dickey, who averaged 8.7 points and 5.1 rebounds for his first three seasons.