ATLANTA (AP) - Iman Shumpert has been one of the few bright spots in Georgia Tech's difficult season.
His job never seems easy, even against a non-conference opponent like Chattanooga, but Shumpert insists on hustling even if some of his teammates aren't.
``I was thinking maybe if they saw me getting after it and making some hustle plays and getting more rebounds, then maybe everybody would get more into it, but I felt we were flat,' Shumpert said. ``I was just trying to bring some energy.'
Glen Rice Jr. scored 27 points, Shumpert added 19 and Georgia Tech snapped a five-game losing streak with a 62-53 victory over Chattanooga on Wednesday night.
The Yellow Jackets (11-14) had dropped six of seven, but Shumpert seemed irritated that his team looked sluggish.
``We weren't doing the little things,' Shumpert said. ``We weren't clearing the rebounds. I was just trying to get guys to contest (shots) and contest guys high and lead by example.'
Omar Wattad scored 18 points for Chattanooga (14-14), which never led. The Mocs, who have dropped four straight, pulled within four on a 3-pointer by Ricky Taylor that made it 48-44 with 6:28 remaining, but poor transition defense proved too costly.
``That has been a problem all year,' Chattanooga center Deantre Jefferson said. ``We get really close and then make mistakes. We have to get back on defense and make stops. It's hard to get over the hump.'
Shumpert pulled down 11 of Georgia Tech's 34 rebounds. Rice now has scored at least 20 points six times since Dec. 25.
The Yellow Jackets' biggest lead was 11 points at the 7:30 mark of the first half.
With 10 turnovers in each half, Chattanooga allowed 24 points off their miscues. Jefferson finished with 14 points and a team-high nine rebounds, but he also led the Mocs with six turnovers.
``They got out and ran,' Jefferson said. ``They played their game. They created a lot of fast-break points. They hit the glass hard and attacked us in the paint.'
Rice hopes he's found his shooting touch in time to help Georgia Tech salvage a difficult season.
``I was trying not to take any poor shots and let Iman and other guys drive and kick it out for the inside-out 3,' Rice said. ``I think that's why I shot the ball better.'
Jackets coach Paul Hewitt still wants to see a complete performance from Rice, who was coming off a seven-game stretch against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents in which he shot just 30.5 percent from the field (32 of 105).
Hewitt believes Georgia Tech would have more chances to turn around its sinking season if more players hustled like Shumpert.
``I was really happy with how Iman led us home,' Hewitt said. ``He was the guy who, when we did get a little unsettled, did a nice job. Although Glen put up 27 points, I think he was a little careless with the ball, but I thought Iman really did a nice job of leading us to victory.'
Chattanooga coach John Shulman found it easy to believe that Shumpert, a junior, leads the Jackets in scoring, rebounding and assists this season.
``Glen Rice should be hugging Shumpert because Shumpert is very difficult to guard and he makes them go,' Shulman said. ``He gets everybody shots. If you don't build a wall on him, he is going to get to the basket. He is a high-level player.'
Georgia Tech's next game is Sunday at No. 5 Duke. Chattanooga returns home for the first time in five games to face Furman in a Southern Conference matchup.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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