- Associated Press - Sunday, February 19, 2017

ATLANTA (AP) - Ben Lammers keeps getting better, and Georgia Tech is enjoying the benefits of his efforts in a surprisingly fun season.

“Unless I make every shot and block every shot on defense, I’m not going to be satisfied,” he said. “Once the season’s over, I’ll be working on everything I can. Whether it’s low post, high post or defensive movement.”

Lammers scored 23 points, Tadric Jackson added 20 points and Georgia Tech held off a late charge by Syracuse to win 71-65 on Sunday.

The Yellow Jackets (16-11, 7-7 ACC) were picked to finish near the bottom of the league standings, but they improved to 6-1 at home in conference play despite Syracuse fans accounting for nearly half of the sold-out crowd.

Georgia Tech proved up to the test as Lammers dominated on both ends of the floor.

Trying to rally from a 13-point deficit, the Orange (16-12, 8-7) had a chance to tie in the closing seconds, but Tyler Roberson, who played just 7 minutes, was whistled for an illegal screen on Jackson. Georgia Tech got four free throws from Josh Heath and Lammers to seal the victory.

Taurean Thompson finished with 18 points and Andrew White had 17 for Syracuse (16-12, 8-7). The Orange have lost three straight for the first time since last season.

Lammers, the nation’s third-leading shot blocker, played every minute for the second straight game. The 6-foot-10, 227-pound junior went 11 for 18 from the field, pulled down seven rebounds, had a career-high three steals and blocked his sixth shot by swatting down Tyler Lydon’s inside attempt and immediately hitting a lane jumper to make it a 13-point lead with 9:19 remaining.

Lammers had seven blocks, one short of the school record in an ACC game that he shares with former center Alvin Jones.

“Nothing really fazes Ben,” Tech coach Josh Pastner said. “He’s a fantastic player, a fantastic young man. We’re very fortunate to have him.”

Josh Okogie added 13 points for the Jackets.

Syracuse missed 15 of its first 17 shots in the second half before Lydon’s dunk cut the lead to 51-40. Georgia Tech made nine of its first 14 shots in the second.

“We didn’t get as good a movement against their matchup as we needed to,” Orange coach Jim Boeheim said. “When got some good looks, we missed. We got it inside to Tyler Lydon. He had two really good looks right around the basket. Thought he got fouled, but that’s how it goes sometimes. Can’t miss those when you’re in tough games. Can’t do that.”

BIG PICTURE

Syracuse: The offense ground to a halt in the second half before a late run trimmed a 13-point lead to two on Lydon’s free throw with 56 seconds left. The Orange managed to overcome double-digit deficits to win three times this month, but the 3-pointer evaded them this time, going 8 for 30 beyond the arc. They shot 35.7 percent overall, a school season-low in ACC play. Sunday’s loss marked the first time in the last eight games that White didn’t score at least 20 points.

Georgia Tech: Pastner got the most of his rotation, using just seven players. Lammers and Quinton Stephens became the first players since Matt Harpring in 1996-97 to play 40 minutes in at least three games. Stephens had a career-high eight assists to go with seven points and six rebounds. Jackson has scored in double figures in five of the last seven games. Pastner harps constantly on guard rebounding and he got his wish as Okogie, Heath, Jackson and Corey Heyward combined for 19 of the team’s 36 boards.

WELCOME BACK

Kenny Anderson, Dennis Scott and Brian Oliver were introduced to a standing ovation in the first half. Known as Lethal Weapon 3 in 1990, the trio led the Jackets to their first Final Four. Scott, who led the NBA in 3-pointers in 1995-96, even stepped in for a contestant during halftime and knocked down a 3 off the backboard from halfcourt.

UP NEXT

Syracuse: The Orange host No. 12 Duke on Wednesday, visit No. 8 Louisville next Sunday.

Georgia Tech: The Jackets host North Carolina State on Tuesday, visit No. 25 Notre Dame next Sunday.

___

More AP college basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25.


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