THE FLATS - Junior guard Brandon Alston scored a career-high 20 points, and short-handed Georgia Tech beat UT Rio Grande Valley, 78-68, Wednesday night at McCamish Pavilion.
Alston, a graduate transfer from Lehigh University, poured in 13 points after halftime as the Yellow Jackets (2-1) expanded a 32-27 halftime lead in McCamish Pavilion. Three other Tech players scored in double digits, including junior forward Abdoulaye Gueye with a career-high 13 points, senior center Ben Lammers with 14, and freshman guard Curtis Haywood II with 11.
The Jackets eventually pulled away from UTRGV with 60 percent shooting in the second half, but the Vaqueros - 10-22 last season under then first-year head coach Lew Hill - gave their ACC opponent fits early.
Nick Dixon paced UTRGV (3-3) with 23 points. All five of UTRGV's reserves scored in the first half, and they outscored Tech bench players 36-12. Freshmen Greg Bowie, Mike Bowie and Lesley Varner Jr. each had eight points for the Vaqueros.
Tech backup point guard Justin Moore missed the game after drawing a two-game suspension earlier in the day for violation of unspecified NCAA rules, and starting guards Josh Okogie and Tadric Jackson were already suspended for receiving benefits in violation of NCAA rules.
UTRGV: The Vaqueros were competitive in the first half despite the fact that Dixon didn't score until 2:55 left before intermission, and second-leading scorer Xavier McDaniel Jr. went scoreless. McDaniel finished with a point.
UTRGV will host Grambling State Saturday in just the third home game among its first 10 contests.
Georgia Tech faces North Texas, making its second visit to campus, and first since the Yellow Jackets won 93-76 on Dec. 31, 1997.