Georgia Tech's Mfon Udofia (0) puts up a shot against the defense of Boston College's Ryan Anderson (12) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
ATLANTA -- Mfon Udofia's postgame comment Saturday reflected just how much of a struggle this season has been for Georgia Tech.
"Everybody in the locker room right now is going crazy," the Yellow Jackets point guard said.
Georgia Tech had to hold on to edge a team that had almost as long a losing streak as its own. But any victory right now is something to celebrate for the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech won for the first time at Philips Arena in its sixth try and snapped a six-game overall losing with a 51-47 victory over lowly Boston College.
The Yellow Jackets (9-14, 2-7 ACC) made just 3 of 15 3-pointers and struggled to make it to 20 points at halftime. But Georgia Tech did just enough things right to beat a Boston College team that fell to 7-16 overall and 2-7 in the ACC with its sixth straight loss.
It was ugly, but any win is a thing of beauty for the Yellow Jackets and first-year coach Brian Gregory right now.
"It's been a while there brother since we'd one," Gregory said when asked about his team's celebratory mood. "It's good for the guys to feel good. ... They're excited. They've been beat up for two seasons."
Georgia Tech fans weren't expecting miracles as Gregory took over for the ousted Paul Hewitt and inherited a depleted roster. But most had hoped it wouldn't be quite this bad.
Outside of an encouraging effort in a loss to Duke at Philips Arena, the Yellow Jackets had done little right in their previous games at the home of the Atlanta Hawks. Their four "home" wins had all been in the Arena at Gwinnett Center.
Once 7-4 thanks to a soft early schedule, Georgia Tech started its downward slide with a 65-59 loss in Gwinnett to Mercer and had won just once in its previous 11 games coming into the timely meeting with Boston College.
The Eagles went nearly nine minutes in the first half without scoring, but the game was tied at 44 after Ryan Anderson hit a 3-pointer for BC with 3:14 remaining.
Glen Rice Jr. had a big tip-in of his own miss with 47 seconds left, though, and the Yellow Jackets put the victory away by hitting 3 of 4 late free throws.
Rice, coming back from a turf toe, had 11 points and eight rebounds off the bench. Daniel Miller and Kammeon Holsey each scored 10. Udofia was scoreless on 0-for-7 shooting, but had six assists to no turnovers.
"You saw a glimpse of the intensity we need," Gregory said. "I was pleased with the effort and I thought our guys executed very well down the stretch."
Boston College, which trailed 20-19 at halftime, shot just 34.7 percent and had 14 turnovers to nine for Georgia Tech. Matt Humphrey scored 15 for the Eagles and Lonnie Jackson had 10 points.
"You could tell it was two teams in dire need of a victory," BC coach Steve Donahue said. "It wasn't pretty. Neither team is a very good offensive team right now."
Gregory would certainly agree with that, but he was at least pleased with the Yellow Jackets' shot selection. "We took maybe two bad shots all game," he said.
Gregory had stressed to his struggling team that it was entering the second half of the ACC regular season and so had a chance for a new start. The Yellow Jackets bought in.
"This is a big game," Udofia said of the victory over Boston College. "We want to close it out playing our best basketball going into the ACC Tournament. We're 1-0 in the second half."
At least that is a positive. So is the fact that North Carolina State, the Yellow Jackets' only previous ACC victory, is the next opponent. That game is at Philips Arena on Thursday night and Georgia Tech is no longer winless downtown.