Georgia Tech guard Brandon Reed, center, battles Alabama A&M's Jeremy Crutcher (10) and Casey Cantey (4) for a rebound in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Gwinnett Arena in Duluth, Ga., Monday, Dec. 19, 2011. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
DULUTH -- It wasn't pretty, but the Georgia Tech men's basketball team will take it. Glen Rice Jr. had 21 points and 10 rebounds, Mfon Udofia added all 16 of his points in the second half and the Yellow Jackets defeated Alabama A&M, 65-54 Monday at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.
Tech (7-4) won its third consecutive game and will play its final game in Gwinnett Thursday against in-state foe Mercer.
The Yellow Jackets were playing their first home game since Nov. 29 and led 25-16 after a bucket by Daniel Miller (eight points, nine rebounds), but A&M, out of Normal, Ala. went on a 9-0 run stretched out over the start of the second half and tied the game at 25-25 on Brandon Ellis' layup.
Later, Ellis hit a jumper to pull the visitors to within 28-27, but Rice's three-point play and 3-pointer, and freshman Julian Royal, who had 10 points and seven rebounds (five offensive) in one of his best all-around games, had a lay up off a feed from Rice to push the lead out to 38-27 at the 15:24 mark.
"I thought Julian Royal played with a great energy level," said Tech coach Brian Gregory. "He had five offensive rebounds and a couple of them were big plays for us that were just pure hustle plays. That was good to see that as a freshman. I was very pleased with his performance."
Gregory admitted Royal may have been the only bright spot on a night Tech had just seven assists and turned the ball over 22 times.
"We didn't play very well. We didn't play with the effort that you need to play with, or the concentration that you need to play with," Gregory said. "Today we didn't do the job we needed to do. It was disappointing. I'm disappointed and we've got to respond. When you have 22 turnovers that's concentration and that's reading situations."
"That's part of our game plan. We want to force turnovers," said A&M coach Willie Hayes. "That's how we're going to have to play to win games."
Jeremy Ingram had 14 points and Casey Canty added 12 for Alabama A&M (2-5), but the Bulldogs, who fell to 0-4 against ACC teams since joining Division 1 in 1999, shot 35 percent from the field and made just 5-of-20 3-point attempts.