ANAHEIM, Calif. — Brandon Reed scored 19 points and Georgia Tech made six 3-pointers in the second half to beat Saint Mary’s (Cal) 65-56 on Sunday, capturing third place in the DirecTV Classic.
Stephen Holt had a team-high 10 points for Saint Mary’s in the first-ever meeting between the schools. The two-time defending West Coast conference champion Gaels (4-2) are 1-10 against ACC teams, with the only victory coming against Boston College in 1978.
Saint Mary’s led 26-23 at halftime despite the fact that guard Matthew Dellavedova, who had a career-high 32 points in Thursday’s win over Drexel, missed all three of his shots in the half before finishing 1 for 8 with five points and eight assists.
Kammeon Holsey, who has come off the Georgia Tech bench after starting every game last season, played 12 scoreless minutes in the first half and did not make his first field goal until he converted a jumper with 6:28 left for a 46-42 lead. The Yellow Jackets (4-1) broke it open with an 11-2 run, including two 3-pointers by Reed, and took a 58-48 lead with 56 seconds to play.
Shiloh grad Robert Carter Jr.’s 3-pointer with 16:38 remaining gave Georgia Tech a 29-28 lead — its first since Reed’s game-opening trey. Another 3-pointer by Reed and a fastbreak layup by Marcus Georges-Hunt extended the margin to 34-28 with 14:50 left.
Dellavadova got his only basket on a 3-pointer with 13:28 to play, cutting Georgia Tech’s lead back to four, and Beau Levesque’s two-free throws temporarily regained the lead for Saint Mary’s at 40-39 with 8:32 left.
After a 3-pointer by Georges-Hunt regained the lead for Georgia Tech, Holt made it 42-all on a pair of free throws with 7:30 to go — becoming the first player on either team to reach double figures.
The Yellow Jackets shot just 32 percent from the field in the first half, going 1 for 8 from 3-point range, and finished 7 for 19 from behind the arc after coming in 11 for 67 through its first four games. They did not make a basket of any kind during a 5:49 stretch after Reed’s 3-pointer, and Saint Mary’s scored the next nine points before Tech eventually pulled into a 15-all tie on a jumper by North Gwinnett grad Chris Bolden.
James Walker III hit a lucky 3-pointer from the right corner that kissed off the glass, giving the Gaels a 20-15 edge with 6:03 left in the half. It could have been worse for the Yellow Jackets had they not converted Saint Mary’s 12 first-half turnovers into nine points. Tech came in with the lowest scoring defense among ACC teams, allowing 50.8 points per game.
Saint Mary’s beat Drexel 76-64 in the opening round of the tournament before losing 76-66 to Pacific. The Gaels, who resume play next Saturday at home against Cal Poly, are one of five schools to win at least 25 games in each of the previous five seasons along with Duke, Kansas, Gonzaga and BYU.
The Yellow Jackets won their first-round game 54-36 over Rice — marking the lowest point total by a Georgia Tech opponent in the modern era, which began with the 1949-50 season. But they lost 68-57 to California in Friday’s semifinals.
Coach Randy Bennett’s squad resumes its schedule Wednesday night at the ACC-Big Ten Challenge at Illinois, which is off to a 6-0 start after winning the Sports Maui Invitational Tournament. Tech swingman Stacey Poole, who transferred from Kentucky last January, will become eligible to play on Dec. 17.