MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- When you've snapped winning streaks of 41 games at Duke and 25 at Wake Forest and defeated Connecticut at Madison Square Garden, you don't panic.
Third seed Georgia Tech survived its first-round matchup in the NCAA Tournament, holding off pesky 14th seed Northern Iowa, 65-60, in the St. Louis Region.
It looked like a laugher late in the first half, when the Yellow Jackets built a 17-point lead. Smooth-shooting Northern Iowa stormed back to take the lead early in the second half, but Georgia Tech didn't panic.
Brooks McKowen hit a 3-pointer with 16:11 left to cap a 21-5 run and give the Panthers a 42-41 edge. But B.J. Elder made a turnaround jumper with 15:48 to play, giving the Yellow Jackets (24-9) the lead for good.
A dangerous team from the Atlantic Coast Conference, Georgia Tech stretched its lead to eight points midway through the half and held on after Northern Iowa closed within three twice in the final 2:14.
Yellow Jackets coach Paul Hewitt credited his team with keeping its composure. After all, it has put together a few impressive wins already this season.
"This team has snapped a 25-game win streak at Wake Forest and a 41-game win streak at Duke," he said. "We beat Connecticut at Madison Square Garden, which is like a home away from home for them. I didn't sense that they panicked at all."
Jarrett Jack missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 18 seconds to go, giving Northern Iowa a chance to tie, facing a 63-60 deficit. But Ben Jacobson missed a contested 3-pointer from the left corner, hitting the back of the rim.
"You get kind of used to seeing Ben Jacobson making those type of shots, especially as of late, the kind of shooting he had," Panthers center David Gruber said. "As soon as it went up, we're confident in him shooting the ball every time."
"I saw we contested it and I knew we did a good job defending it, so I knew it wouldn't go in," said Georgia Tech center Luke Schenscher, a 7-1 junior from Australia.
Jacobson's miss ended a fine season by Northern Iowa (21-10), which needed two overtimes to win the Missouri Valley Conference championship game.
Schenscher scored 13 points and Elder added 12 for the Jackets, who jumped to leads of 19-9, 26-13 and 32-15. After Schenscher completed a three-point play 2:53 before halftime, it was 37-21.
"We went on a run early and have played a very good schedule and had teams fold on us when we did go on a run," Hewitt said. "They came back and we feel fortunate to win the game."
Northern Iowa scored the first eight points of the second half, creeping within 39-35 on a pair of free throws by Erik Crawford with 17:46 remaining. Jackets starting guard Jack was called for his third foul, sending Crawford to the line.
That proved to be a turning point as Hewitt sent Will Bynum in to replace Jack. Bynum who netted 11 points, provided an immediate answer, hitting a pull-up jumper to end the Panthers' run and give the Jackets a 41-35 lead.
"He saved the day, as far as I'm concerned," Hewitt said.
The Yellow Jackets face sixth seed Boston College in the second round on Sunday.