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Second-half rally lifts Georgia Tech

Nov 22, 2006 - 2:48 AM MAUI, Hawaii (Ticker) -- Memphis played a great first half. Georgia Tech trumped it in the second half.

Jeremis Smith scored 21 points and the 19th-ranked Yellow Jackets rallied from a 16-point halftime deficit to beat the 11th-ranked Tigers, 92-85, in the Maui Invitational.

The comeback earned Georgia Tech a slot in Wednesday's championship game against No. 5 UCLA, which outlasted Kentucky, 73-68, in Tuesday's other semifinal.

The Yellow Jackets seemed to have no hope of advancing after falling behind by as many at 19 points in the opening 20 minutes and trailing, 46-30, at halftime.

But after being stung by some superb shooting by Memphis in the first half, as well as its own offensive ineptitude, Georgia Tech patiently worked the ball inside to the powerhouse duo of Smith and Ra'Sean Dickey in the second half to claw back in the game.

A 6-9, 255-pound junior, Dickey scored 14 points, including back-to-back three-point plays that gave the Yellow Jackets their first lead and put them ahead to stay, 66-62, with 7:38 to play.

Georgia Tech held Memphis without a field goal for over 5 1/2 minutes, going from a 59-53 deficit into a 71-63 lead with 5:45 left.

The Yellow Jackets kept the pressure on, with Mouhammad Faye tipping in two offensive rebounds, Lewis Clinch burying a 3-pointer and Smith converting another three-point play for their largest lead, 83-70, with 2:21 remaining.

The Tigers appeared finished but Chris Douglas-Roberts scored five points and Joey Dorsey dunked to cut it to 89-85 with 17 seconds left.

Georgia Tech freshman Javaris Crittenton finally ended the suspense with a steal and two free throws for the final margin.

The 6-6, 235-pound Smith had 10 rebounds and Dickey grabbed nine in helping the Yellow Jackets to a 46-31 edge on the boards.

Clinch scored 17 points and freshmen Thaddeus Young and Crittenton added 11 and 10, respectively.

Douglas-Roberts scored 26 points for the Tigers, who shot 50 percent (15-of-30) from the field in the first half but were just 11-of-26 after the break.

Memphis used a 19-5 spurt to open its biggest lead of the game, 32-13, on Douglas-Roberts' layup with 7:24 left in the half. Douglas-Roberts had 14 points in the opening 20 minutes.

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