ATLANTA - It was a day Matt Causey will never forget. Neither will Georgia Tech.
Needing a victory badly, Causey scored a career-high 30 points, 18 in the second half, and Anthony Morrow added 17 points as Georgia Tech ended a three-game losing streak to earn its first Atlantic Coast Conference win, beating Virginia Tech 81-70 on Saturday.
The Yellow Jackets (8-9, 1-3 ACC) were coming off a heart-breaking 83-82 loss to No. 1 North Carolina on Wednesday night. Virginia Tech (11-7, 2-2) had won two consecutive games by a point with last-second shots.
The Hokies scored the first 13 points of the second half - 8 by Malcolm Delaney and 5 by Deron Washington - to get within three points at 39-36 after Tech had taken a 39-23 lead at the half, its largest.
"Just thank goodness for Matt Causey. He stepped up and made some big plays and that's what we needed," said Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt.
"In the second half, we were put back on our heels a little bit," said Hewitt.
"They began on a 13-0 run, but Matt came in the game and got us steadied once again. Matt was huge," he added.
"It's been a while. I put up numbers like that" at North Georgia, where he played two years and averaged better than 23 points a game), said Causey, who was averaging 4.9 points a game.
"They were focusing on others and I was open. I took my open shots and knocked them down," he said.
Virginia Tech finally tied it at 55 on a 3-point basket by Delaney but could never take the lead.
Jeremis Smith added 13 points for the Yellow Jackets.
Deron Washington led Virginia Tech with 15 points. Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen each added 13 points.
Causey, who was 7 of 12 on 3's, hit a pair in a 25-second span, the last with 6:14 left to give the Yellow Jackets a 65-59 lead. Georgia Tech stretched it to 10 at 70-60 on a pair of free throws by Smith with 4:32 left. The Hokies never got closer than six, the last at 76-70 with 1:10 left on a basket by Terrell Bell.
"We didn't expect Causey to get 30 points, and we have to give him credit for making shots, but we have to be tougher and contest shots," said Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg.
"I was really pleased with how hard we played in the second half and how we found a way to get back in the game," said Greenberg. "I thought we played hard, but to win a game on the road you have to execute for 40 minutes, you can't execute for 15 or 17."
The Yellow Jackets were leading 22-18 with 8:56 left before intermission, then went on a 17-5 scoring spree with Causey hitting three 3-point buckets during the spurt for the 16-point halftime margin.
Causey, who hit 4 of 6 from long range in the first half, and Morrow, who knocked down 3 of 4, each had 12 points at the half. Causey's previous high was 11 against Notre Dame. Morrow scored nine of Georgia Tech's first 13 points on three straight 3's.
Virginia Tech was coming off two consecutive one-point wins. The Hokies edged Virginia 70-69 in overtime on a basket at the buzzer by Deron Washington on Wednesday night. In their previous game on Dec. 12, Va. Tech beat Maryland 67-66 on a free throw by Allen with 12.4 seconds left.
Allen was ejected by officials for arguing after he received his fifth personal foul with 4:32 left.