NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Connecticut prefers playing fast, but Georgia Tech's speed made the pace too frenetic for the nation's top-ranked squad.
B.J. Elder and Isma'il Muhammad scored 22 points apiece as the Yellow Jackets outran the Huskies for a 77-61 shocker in the semifinals of the Preseason NIT.
Connecticut (3-1) features one of the nation's most devastating transition games - along with a pair of preseason All-American candidates in Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon. But the Yellow Jackets put their foot on the accelerator, leaving the Huskies behind for most of the night.
"That's the way we play," Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt said. "We felt like, 'Let's see who is in better shape and can get more transition buckets.'"
Elder, referred to by Hewitt as the "best-kept secret in college basketball," was one of the major reasons Georgia Tech's fast-break style was in full effect. The junior guard made 10-of-23 shots overall and scored 15 points in the first half while outshining Gordon.
"I just take it in stride," Elder said. "After a while, I don't think it's going to be a secret anymore."
"(I told him) 'You're going to go out and play against one of the best two guards in the country and I expect you to go out there and outplay him," Hewitt said. "Ben Gordon is a great, great player, but obviously I have confidence in my guy."
After Connecticut scored the game's first six points, Elder netted nine points in an 18-4 tear that gave Georgia Tech (4-0) the lead for good. The Yellow Jackets settled for a 42-35 halftime lead.
Georgia Tech demonstrated its quickness advantage in a key second-half stretch. Muhammad had a layup before being fouled on a flying two-handed dunk over the Huskies' Hilton Armstrong. Muhammad added the free throw and Elder's 3-pointer capped the burst for a 52-38 cushion with just under 15 minutes left.
"We wanted to get up and down the floor in transition," Muhammad said. "We wanted to get out on the break and run, run, run."
Georgia Tech meets Texas Tech in Friday's championship.
The Huskies never got closer than 10 points in the final 15 minutes and their dismal all-around effort baffled coach Jim Calhoun.
"They didn't just mismatch us because of their quickness," Calhoun said. "They mismatched us because of their toughness. We were not a tough basketball team tonight."
Okafor, who is hobbled by back pain that forced him to stretch throughout the night, finished with nine points, 13 rebounds and six blocks. Gordon netted a quiet 13 points.
"We kind if showed them that we would let them stay in the game in the beginning," Gordon said. "As the game went on, their confidence shot sky-high."
Georgia Tech also received a nice floor game from point guard Jarrett Jack, who contributed 12 points, seven assists and six rebounds.
The Huskies hurt themselves with awful foul shooting, connecting on 33 percent (10-of-30). Okafor was 5-of-12.
"I haven't experienced too much of that (in my career)," Calhoun said.
UConn remains without freshman forward Charlie Villanueva, who is being held out due to possible eligibility problems. The Huskies will face Utah in the consolation game.