ATLANTA (AP) -Lewis Clinch scored 22 points and Georgia Tech rallied in the second half to avoid another embarrassing out-of-conference loss, beating city rival Georgia State 72-67 Wednesday night.
The Yellow Jackets (4-4) already had lost to UNC-Greensboro and Winthrop, and they trailed the lowly Panthers 40-32 after going nearly 5 minutes without a point to start the second half.
But Georgia State (2-5), which was hosting Georgia Tech for the first time since 1973 even though the Atlanta schools are only a couple of miles apart, couldn't hold on for the first signature win of coach Rod Barnes' tenure.
Clinch hit a jumper in the lane with 6:02 remaining to cap a 13-5 run that gave the Yellow Jackets their first lead of the second half, 58-56.
Leonard Mendez, who led the Panthers with 20 points, made two free throws to tie it up again, but Josh Peacock scored on the inside after setting a bruising pick near midcourt. Georgia Tech led the rest of the way.
Georgia State's last chance came after Peacock was whistled for a technical with 2:01 remaining. Mendez made two free throws to pull the Panthers within 64-62, and they got the ball back with 6 seconds left on the shot clock.
But Rashad Chase stumbled trying to drive and Georgia State never got off a shot.
Clinch wrapped it up at the foul line, hitting a pair of free throws with 3.7 seconds remaining after Kevin Lott hit a 3-pointer to give the Panthers a glimmer of hope.
Peacock added 17 points for Georgia Tech, which shot 52 percent (13-of-25) in the second half, pounding the ball inside to create more scoring chances. The Yellow Jackets also came up with several big turnovers in the closing minutes.
Georgia Tech played its seventh straight road or neutral-site game, though the Yellow Jackets didn't have to go far for this one. They improved to 16-2 against the Panthers, winning their 13th in a row since their last loss to Georgia State in 1976.
While Clinch and Peacock were the only players in double figures for Georgia Tech, seven other players got on the scoresheet.
Mendez had 14 of his points in the first half, struggling to get open over the final 20 minutes. Lott had 14 points and Chase added 12.
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