Mount St. Mary’s, Md. 71, No. 21 Georgia Tech 69
ATLANTA (AP) _ Maybe, just maybe, his kids will learn something from the loss, a dejected Bobby Cremins hoped after his No. 21 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets were stunned by tiny Mount St. Mary’s.
Cremins will find out rather quickly when Tech plays No. 2 Massachusetts on Friday night.
On Monday night, however, the Yellow Jackets (6-4) were left dumbfounded by a 37-point performance from Chris McGuthrie and Jeff Balistrere’s only basket of the game as time expired. It was enough to give the Mountaineers from Emmitsburg, Md., a 71-69 victory before a hushed hometown crowd of 8,562 in Atlanta’s Omni coliseum.
``Across the country people are going to look at this score in disbelief, but these things happen in college basketball all the time,″ Cremins said. ``It really, really hurts. It hurts a lot, but we’ve got to move forward and worry about the next game.″
On the other hand, it might have been the highlight of Jim Phelan’s 42-year coaching career at the school with 1,400 students, the fourth-smallest enrollment in NCAA Division I.
``This was a huge win for us,″ said Phelan, who has a career 741-394 record at the school. ``I can’t remember a bigger win.
``I think we caught them perhaps in between good wins and tough games. And if you’re going to catch them this is the time to catch them. Our strengths matched their strengths in the guards.″
McGuthrie, a 5-foot-9 senior, was 13-for-26, including 8-for-16 from 3-point range.
``That young man played a great game. What did he have? 50? He was sensational,″ Cremins said.
McGuthrie’s backcourt partner, Riley Inge, had five points and nine assists. He had the key inbounds pass to Balistrere as time ran out.
Tech’s guards _ Drew Barry and highly-regarded freshman Stephon Marbury combined for 27 points. Barry had a team-high 14, all in the second half, and Marbury had 13 points, five assists and eight turnovers.
``We took things for granted and we were not ourselves,″ Cremins said.
Tech tied it at 69 with 20 seconds left when Marbury made one of two free throws. The Mountaineers held the ball until the final seconds when a shot by Inge from the corner missed, but Mount St. Mary’s regained possession with 0.7 seconds left.
Inge then found Balistrere all alone under the basket for the winner.
``Biggest shot of my life? Sure,″ said Balistrere, who had taken only four other shots during the game and was averaging 7.6 points. ``I was just thinking point-7 seconds. I’ve got to get it up there quick.″
Tech trailed 39-32 at halftime, turning the ball over 16 times in the opening 20 minutes and finished with 21 turnovers for the game.
Gerben Van Dorpe added 12 points for the Mountaineers, who improved to 4-2 with their fourth straight victory.