In the zone
Lewis hits five 3s, sends Georgia Tech into Preseason NIT semifinals
Posted: Friday November 21, 2003 1:40AM; Updated: Friday November 21, 2003 1:40AM
ATLANTA (AP) -- Hofstra gave Marvin Lewis just what he wanted for his 21st birthday -- a zone defense.
Lewis scored 23 points for Georgia Tech, including five 3-pointers over Hofstra's zone, and the Yellow Jackets cruised to their second straight victory in the Preseason NIT, 75-56 Thursday night.
"The birthday boy stepped up tonight," coach Paul Hewitt said.
The Yellow Jackets (2-0) advanced to face No. 1 Connecticut in the semifinals of the Preseason NIT next Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.
Lewis came out firing, hitting two straight 3-pointers with Hofstra (1-1) backed up around the lane. The Pride never led, and Georgia Tech pulled away after halftime.
"You hit the first one and just go from there," said Lewis, who was 5-of-10 from outside the arc. "It was a confidence builder."
So, how was he planning to celebrate?
"My mom's here," Lewis said, grinning. "I have to watch what I do."
While Lewis got the glory, Jarrett Jack handled the dirty work. In addition to scoring 11 points, Georgia Tech's point guard led the team in three other categories with 11 assists, seven rebounds and six steals.
"One thing I've really focused on is keeping the defense honest," Jack said. "We wanted to get Marvin off early. I tried to push the tempo."
Hofstra had trouble just getting off a shot from anywhere. In the first four minutes of the second half, the Pride had more turnovers (five) than shots (three).
For the second game in a row, Georgia Tech caused more turnovers than field goals allowed. Hofstra lost the ball 24 times and hit only 18-of-50 shots.
"Our room for error is very minor in a game like this," coach Tom Pecora said. "We nearly have to play flawless basketball to win a game like this."
Wendell Gibson was the lone bright spot for Hofstra, scoring a career-high 19 points against Georgia Tech's suspect frontcourt. He drew a bunch of fouls, hitting 9-of-9 at the line.
"He's a great back-to-the-basket scorer, a throwback player," Pecora said. "Not a lot of guys can still do that."
It wasn't nearly enough. Georgia Tech took nearly half its shots from 3-point range and still made 48 percent (27-of-56). The Yellow Jackets, who led 36-27 at halftime, pushed the margin as high as 27 points in the second half.
The game, which wasn't announced until late Tuesday night, was played before an entirely general-admission crowd of just 918 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, which seats 9,191.
The Yellow Jackets opened the Preseason NIT with a 79-45 rout of Louisiana-Lafayette, and Hofstra -- coming off an 8-21 season -- wasn't much of a test, either.
Of course, the level of competition will step up considerably next week when the Yellow Jackets take on UConn and 6-foot-10 Emeka Okafor, who's on pace to become the best shot blocker in college basketball history.
Before that, Georgia Tech has a regularly scheduled game at Cornell.
"You can't take anyone lightly," Jack said. "Everybody's thinking about UConn and the Garden, but we have a big game Sunday."
Lewis was one of four Yellow Jackets in double figures. B.J. Elder had 13 points and Isma'il Muhammad 12.
"If the defense knows they have to come out and defense me, as well as B.J., Marvin and Isma'il, that make us a more potent team," Jack said.
Jack teamed with Muhammad on the most spectacular play of the night. The point guard stole the ball around midcourt and passed to his teammate for a flying dunk.