Shayok sparks No. 16 Virginia past Georgia Tech, 62-49 (Jan 21, 2017)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) Marial Shayok is emerging as the scorer Virginia so badly needs, and making his elevation to the starting lineup look brilliant.
Shayok had a career-best 19 points, the third time in four games he has set or tied his career high, and No. 16 Virginia used a 22-7 run spanning halftime to beat Georgia Tech 62-49 on Saturday.
''Today the guys were finding me and I was just catching and shooting and the ball was going in,'' Shayok said.
In his first start four games ago, he scored 17 points. He matched it the next game, and then set a new high on 6-for-9 shooting against the Yellow Jackets.
''He's wired to score,'' coach Tony Bennett said. ''He can play off the bounce.''
London Perrantes added 11 points, all in the first 7 minutes, for the Cavaliers (15-3, 5-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), Devon Hall had 10 and Jack Salt had five points, six rebounds, a steal, a block and played harassing defense on Georgia Tech scoring leader Ben Lammers.
''There were a few story lines but I don't think there were any bigger than how Jack impacted the game,'' Bennett said after Lammers was 3 for 12 and scored seven points, less than half his 14.9 average. ''Jack was just there. He was a presence.''
The victory was the fourth straight for Virginia.
Josh Okogie led the Yellow Jackets (11-8, 3-4) with 14 points, all but one in the first half, and fellow freshman Justin Moore had 10.
The Yellow Jackets pulled within 29-28 with 4 1/2 minutes left in the first half, but Virginia scored the last six points of the half and started the second half with a 16-7 run to lead 51-35 with under 10 minutes to play.
''We've been pretty good at answering runs, but we didn't answer that one,'' first-year coach Josh Pastner said
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets won half of their first six league games for the first time since the 2009-10 season and have some pieces in place to improve quickly under Pastner. Okogie has been a pleasant surprise, and the 6-foot-10 Lammers is a scorer and rim protector. The Yellow Jackets are athletic and were able to drive on the Cavaliers better than most teams have this season.
Virginia: Perrantes continued a recent stretch in which the pass-first point guard has been more aggressive looking to score himself. The fast start prompted Georgia Tech to go to a box-and-1 defense to slow him down, but Shayok and others picked up the slack.
Perrantes became the fourth Virginia player with 1,000 points and 500 assists, joining John Crotty, Sean Singletary and Donald Hand.
''It's amazing just being able to be one of those players in that club,'' the senior point guard said. ''It's just a testament to who I had on my team as well as the good players around me.''
COACHING FOR LITERACY
Bennett and his assistants wore matching lime green ties, which he said was to raise awareness for Coaching for Literacy.
''There's about 40 or 50 teams that are partnering up with them,'' Bennett said. ''We've done it for two or three years and this year they gave us these sweet looking ties.'' He said 65 percent of fourth-grader do not read at the proper level, so ''it's for a good cause.''
The Yellow Jackets head home after three straight games on the road to face No. 10 Florida State on Wednesday night.
Virginia is back on the road for a meeting with No. 15 Notre Dame on Tuesday night, then plays at No. 1 Villanova.
More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org
Follow Hank on Twitter: www.twitter.com/hankkurzjr