for this game

Freshman Young, Crittenton lead Tech past Carolina

Mar 2, 2007 - 8:04 AM ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Georgia Tech was looking to make a positive impression on the NCAA Tournament committee. Freshman Thaddeus Young and Javaris Crittenton helped make that happen.

Young and Crittenton outplayed the fabulous freshmen on the other side, leading the Yellow Jackets to a big 84-77 victory over No. 8 North Carolina in an Atlantic Coast Conference battle.

Young scored a season-high 25 points and Crittenton handed out a season-high 11 assists to go with 13 points.

"Javaris didn't play very well in Chapel Hill, but I thought he controlled the first half of the game and Thaddeus made every shot," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "I think those are two extremely gifted freshmen who have done some great things, and fortunately for the league, we've got a lot of great freshmen this year on a lot of great teams.

"But when you start talking about the guys that have had such an impact I think you have to talk about those two guys probably more than they have been talked about. It was a sensational night for them."

Georgia Tech (19-10, 7-8) won for the sixth time in eight games and took a huge step toward gaining an NCAA Tournament bid.

"We feel like we've got more work to do because of the whole we dug for ourselves," Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt said. "But I do stand by what I say; I do feel that we're playing as well as anybody out there right now. And I don't say that if I don't think it's true. I've been saying for the last month.

"Just give yourselves a chance to get to that tournament and let's see what happens. This was a big step in that direction, but we've got to follow it up with a good game Sunday. We've got to. We can't afford any slip-ups now because we've left ourselves no margin for error."

With Brandan Wright, Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington, the Tar Heels have what experts call the top freshmen class in the country, but they could not keep up with the Yellow Jackets' rookies in this one.

Young and Anthony Morrow had 13 points and three 3-pointers apiece in the first half as Georgia Tech shot 62 percent (21-of-34), including 6-of-10 from the arc, to take 49-42 lead at intermission. Crittenton added eight points and seven assists.

"(Young's) getting more and more aggressive," Hewitt said. "He's an unselfish basketball player in an age where everybody thinks me me me, and he's getting criticized for it. By some of the national people who don't even watch us and don't understand how good this kid is, and how good a teammate he is.

"He's averaging almost 14 points a game, almost five rebounds, and he's as unselfish as there is. Do I want him to shoot more? Absolutely. But I love his game. He's a terrific player."

A driving scoop shot by Young provided Tech a 73-59 edge with eight minutes to play before North Carolina started chipping away.

The Tar Heels went on a 14-4 run, getting four points each from Lawson, Wright and Danny Green before two free throws by Tyler Hansbrough cut the Tar Heels' deficit to 77-73 with 1:55 left.

One free throw by Crittenton and two by Mario West upped the lead to seven with 55 ticks remaining.

The Yellow Jackets prevailed despite not scoring a field goal for the final 6:22 of the game.

"We kept talking to one another, letting each other know that if we kept fighting out there we could win the game," Young said.

Young shot 10-of-18 from the floor and matched his season high with five 3-pointers in six attempts. Morrow finished with 18 points and freshman Zach Peacock added eight.

Wright scored 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting, Hansbrough chipped in 16 and Ellington 14 for the Tar Heels, who have lost two straight and five of eight.

North Carolina (24-6, 10-5), dropped into a second-place tie with Virginia Tech, one-game back of conference-leading Virginia.

The Tar Heels scored the first seven points of the game and held a 12-5 lead before Georgia Tech unleashed an 18-2 run for a nine-point advantage with 10:45 left in the first half. Young scored 10 points in over just two minutes during the spurt, including a pair of shots from the arc.

"It seemed like we couldn't get a stop to save our lives in the first half," Williams said. "It seemed like they were making every shot. Our defense wasn't as good, but at the same time, they made the shot that you have to make."

A 3-pointer by Anthony Morrow increased the bulge to 44-30 before the Tar Heels closed the half on a 12-5 run.