From start to finish, the Yellow Jackets (2-0) took care of the basketball, and that’s something they couldn’t say a year ago.
Freshmen Marcus Georges-Hunt and Robert Carter Jr. scored 10 points each with one combined turnover in Georgia Tech’s new McCamish Pavilion.
The Yellow Jackets had just seven turnovers to Presbyterian’s 18.
The bigger team from the Atlantic Coast Conference didn’t take advantage of its size in the first half, when after trailing 12-2, Presbyterian went on an 18-4 run.
The Yellow Jackets missed 11 straight shots from the field during the spurt. Presbyterian’s zone threw Georgia Tech out of whack. Ten of those shots were jumpers, seven from 3-point territory.
Presbyterian (0-2) led 25-24 at halftime, but after the Blue Hose scored the first basket of the second half, the Jackets scored 18 straight points and had a 22-4 edge in paint points after intermission.
Carter scored nine of his 10 in the second half. When he tallied from point-blank range on Tech’s first possession, center Daniel Miller did the same on the second, and then Carter did it again a new template was set.
“We were moving the ball better, making plays for each other,” said Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory. “We haven’t worked against a lot of zone. I think the post guys posted harder, and the (perimeter) guys looked in there a little more.
“There was no doubt that getting the ball moving, getting the post guys posting and getting the guys to look in there was more emphasized.”
This game was largely about ball security. Tech outscored Presbyterian 23-10 off turnovers.
Last season, the Yellow Jackets ranked 321st out of 337 Division I teams with 99 more turnovers than takeaways — an average deficit of 3.2 per game.
Wednesday, Tech was plus-11 in turnover margin even with three freshmen — including Chris Bolden — combining to play 72 minutes with one combined turnover.
The Blue Hose had 10 turnovers in the second half, including six during the Jackets’ 18-0 run.
Presbyterian senior guard Khalid Mutakabbir, who played high school basketball in metro Atlanta at Peachtree Ridge, led the Blue Hose with 13 points, but scored just one after halftime.
Gregory moved his senior point guard Mfon Udofia — who scored all seven of his points in the first half — onto Mutakabbir for much of the second half. “I took it as a challenge ... don’t let him score,” said Udofia. “I feel like last year at this time, you never know what would have happened.”
Mutakabbir missed all four of his second-half shots, saying, “They really zeroed in on me.”
The Yellow Jackets’ second-half success came in stark contrast to their’ first half problems. Against the Presbyterian zone, the Jackets settled for 13 3-point shots, making just two.
The Blue Hose even out-scored Georgia Tech 10-6 in the paint in the first half.
After Georgia Tech pushed its second-half lead to 15 points with the 18-point run, Presbyterian never drew closer than 46-38.
Despite their size, the Yellow Jackets carved out a modest 34-30 rebounding edge and they shot just 33 percent (19-for-57), but the Yellow Jackets made 11 free throws to Presbyterian’s three.
Tech also had an 11-0 edge in second-chance points, and an 18-1 bulge in bench points.
The Blue Hose scored just 13 points in the second half on 5-for-18 shooting with 10 turnovers.
In other action Wednesday night:
No. 10 FLORIDA 74, No. 22 WISCONSIN 45
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Erik Murphy tied a career-high with 24 points just days after dealing with an illness, and No. 10 Florida beat 22nd-ranked Wisconsin 74-56 on Wednesday night.
Murphy made all 10 of his shots, including two 3-pointers, as the short-handed Gators enjoyed a double-digit lead most of the night. He also had seven rebounds.
Mike Rosario added 15 points, four rebounds and four assists for Florida (2-0), and Kenny Boynton chipped in 10.
Sam Dekker and Jared Berggren had 11 points apiece for Wisconsin (1-1).
The Gators, playing without point guard Scottie Wilbekin (suspension) and forward Casey Prather (concussion), essentially won the game with fast starts in both halves.
Florida scored the first nine points of the game and the first seven after intermission.
Murphy was involved in both runs.
No. 15 CREIGHTON 66, UAB 60
OMAHA, Neb. — Reserve Josh Jones scored all 18 of his points in the second half to compensate for Doug McDermott’s quiet night in No. 15 Creighton’s 77-60 victory over UAB on Wednesday night.
Jones matched his career high with four 3-pointers. He made two during a personal 10-0 run that tied it 45 and two more during a 15-0 spurt that finished off the Blazers (1-1).
McDermott, the returning first-team All-American, got into early foul trouble and finished with five points.
He came in having scored in double figures in 37 straight games.
Gregory Echenique and Grant Gibbs added 13 points apiece, and Ethan Wragge had 12 for the Bluejays (2-0).
The Blazers, who returned three starters from a 15-16 team, carried the play in the first half and led 37-33 at the break.
Isiah Jones scored 16 points, and Jordan Swing and Rod Rucker added 12 for UAB.