COLLEGE PARK -- The University of Maryland basketball team teetered on the edge several times against Georgia Tech last night at Cole Field House. Teetered, but never fell.
It took a career-high 33 points by Matt Roe, two missed free throws by Yellow Jackets reserve Brian Domalik and a crucial foul shot by Evers Burns for the Terps to hold on for a 96-93 upset.
The victory ended a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference losing streak for Maryland (13-10, 3-7), which began with 15-point defeat to Georgia Tech (13-9, 5-6) on Feb. 1 in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets, led by Kenny Anderson's 30 points, have lost three straight.
It was also the first victory for Maryland over Georgia Tech since an opening-round win in the 1988 ACC tournament, the first during the regular season since since 1984. And it didn't come easily.
The victory was secured when Anderson tried for a three-point shot after Burns' free throw with nine seconds remaining had given the Terps a three-point lead. Tightly guarded by Vince Broadnax, Anderson's 22-footer fell a foot short.
The Terps were on the brink of disaster several times down the stretch. Leading, 79-68, with 7 minutes, 36 seconds remaining, Maryland watched Georgia Tech go on a 14-4 run to pull to within 83-82.
But a missed free throw by Jon Barry with 3:38 left gave the Terps some breathing room, and Maryland was able to build its lead back to 92-86 on a drive by Garfield Smith with 1:27 to go.
It was not over, not even close to being over. After a dunk by Lewis put Maryland ahead 95-81 with 40 seconds to go, Matt Geiger scored on a dunk for Georgia Tech.
On Maryland's next possession, Roe slipped on a wet spot and lost control. Anderson and Smith went flying toward the ball, and the ball was ruled off Smith. On Georgia Tech's possession, Geiger was fouled, hurt his ankle and came out, sending Domalik to the line.
Maryland had made sure not to repeat its horrid start of the first game this season against Georgia Tech. In that game, the Terps scored the first basket and watched the Yellow Jackets score the next 18 points.
This Maryland team scored the first four points and built its lead all the way to 16-6, when Roe was fouled on a three-point attempt and made all three free-throw attempts. The big lead, however, didn't last long.
It started to dwindle when Barry hit a three-point shot for Georgia Tech. But what opened the door for the Yellow Jackets in general, and Anderson in particular, was when Broadnax picked up his third personal with 13:27 left in the first half.
At the time, Maryland led 18-9 and Anderson, the second-leading scorer in the ACC, had missed his first two shots and had committed a couple of turnovers. But with nobody to contain Anderson, the sophomore point guard took off.
He hit a pair of free throws on Broadnax's third foul, made a three-point shot, helped force a couple of backcourt turnovers by the Terps, then hit another three-point shot to cut Maryland's lead to 22-19. Then it was Barry's turn.
After Smith gave Maryland a 26-21 lead, Barry led Georgia Tech on a 10-1 run to take a 29-27 lead.