ACC men: Gordon rebounds to earn Hokies bye

Associated Press
Published March 6, 2005

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Jamon Gordon didn't wait long to put one of the lowest feelings in his career out of his mind with a redeeming high point.

Gordon scored a career-best 23 and had seven in a 12-1 run during the final 21/2 minutes Saturday as Virginia Tech beat Maryland 86-76, securing the surprising Hokies a first-round bye in their first ACC tournament this week.

The performance helped Gordon overcome the errant pass he threw in the closing seconds of a tied game against Clemson three nights earlier, the mistake that led to Sharrod Ford's winning dunk just before the buzzer.

"Man, you just don't know how it feels," Gordon said. "I took the blame for the whole game really after making a crazy pass in a situation like that.

"I was telling them I was going to do something special and then to play defense on (John) Gilchrist and come out and play like I did today makes me feel good."

Gordon's redemption was sweet for Hokies coach Seth Greenberg, too.

"(Gordon)'s just the most genuine kid," Greenberg said. "He always just says what's on his heart. I love them all, but he's just got a special place in my heart."

The Hokies led 74-72 after Maryland's James Gist hit two free throws with 2:36 left, but Gordon's jumper started the run. Virginia Tech was 8-for-11 from the line the rest of the way, and Gordon capped the spurt with a breakaway dunk.

Maryland, hoping to bolster its case for a 12th consecutive NCAA Tournament berth, lost its third straight and fourth in five games.

GA. TECH 64, CLEMSON 56: Jarrett Jack had 18 points and Luke Schenscher pulled down 15 rebounds as the host Yellow Jackets held the Tigers without a field goal for the final 7:44. B.J. Elder added 17 points for Georgia Tech, which kept its NCAA Tournament hopes alive despite shooting 2-of-15 on 3-point attempts. After advancing to the national title game last year, the Jackets guaranteed at least a tie for fourth place in the ACC with an 8-8 record. Sharrod Ford led Clemson with 22 points, but he missed his last three shots.