When Dumfries go out to celebrate their team’s victory
(AP) It was a night of celebration for a young Georgia Tech team that has dominated the college basketball world and won a national championship for the first time since 1988.
The Hawks took a 77-55 lead into halftime and never looked back.
The Bulldogs got a scare when freshman forward Nick DeLeon had his ankle taken out by an errant elbow and then fouled out with 4:08 left.
It was the first of three consecutive losses by Georgia Tech this season.
DeLeon was not expected to return.
“I’m disappointed,” coach Chris Johnson said.
“That’s not the way we wanted to play.
But we’re just going to get on with it and get back to work.”
The Bulldogs (12-2, 8-2 ACC) have lost six of seven and are averaging a league-worst 19.7 points.
But they’ve played better defensively than they have the last two weeks, holding teams to 42.8 percent shooting while scoring 80.0 per game.
They held West Virginia to 24.3 percent shooting and outscored its opponents 49-36 in the paint.
De Leon’s exit came after the Bulldogs led 51-34 at halftime.
He scored 10 of his 22 points in the first half, and DeLeon finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Tech was led by freshman guard Ben Simmons, who finished with 11 points.
He had seven assists and seven rebounds.
“We have to do a better job of defending,” Simmons said.
Georgia Tech is 6-0 since losing its first six games.
“There’s nothing more disappointing than not playing well in a loss, but we can’t take any joy in it,” Johnson said of his team’s loss.
“The only thing I can really take joy in is winning.”
The Blue Raiders (9-3, 4-1) have won four straight over teams in the NCAA Tournament field.
They were eliminated by Kentucky in the second round.
The Wildcats shot 54.3% from the field and hit 5 of 13 from 3-point range.
“It was one of those nights where it was like, ‘We’re not going to let this get to us,'” sophomore guard Matt Johnson said about the loss.
The Blue Raider offense, which averaged 33.3 points and 45.3 rebounds in their last five games, was not as prolific.
The teams combined for a season-low 31 points.
“You can’t get caught up in the numbers and get too caught up trying to do too much,” Johnson added.
“They just have a tendency to go for it and that’s what we’re going to have to work on and we’re not there yet.”
It was also a night when freshman guard Jordan Morris made just one 3-pointer in 11 minutes.
He finished with five points.
Sophomore forward Aaron Gray, a first-team All-ACC selection, also had three points.
Freshman forward Josh Thompson scored 12 points and junior guard Justin Jackson added 12.
The only other Bulldogs player in double figures was freshman forward Kameron McAdoo, who had nine points and nine rebounds.
The 6-foot-5 freshman was making just $4,400 per month and is not guaranteed a spot on the roster next season.
“For us to come out and dominate a team like Georgia Tech and get that win, we have to be in a position where we can be a threat on the defensive end of the floor,” Johnson continued.
“This is what we have got to work to do.
This is what it takes to win.”
Georgia Tech has won seven of its last nine games.
The Yellow Jackets have won nine straight against teams in this group, including victories over top-ranked Vanderbilt and Kentucky.
Tech has also won six straight against nonconference opponents.
It is one of five teams in America’s top 10 for regular-season wins.