ATLANTA (AP) — Point guard Jose Alvarado scored 12 of his 19 points in the first half Friday to lead Georgia Tech to a 63-49 win over North Texas and that wasn't a big surprise, but when fellow freshman Curtis Haywood II dropped 12 of his 15 in the second half, the Yellow Jackets found something.
Haywood made 5-of-7 3-pointers with four of the makes coming after Tech (3-1) took a 22-19 halftime lead. In the Yellow Jackets' first three games, the Oklahoma City native made 2-of-7 long balls.
"In practice, I've been getting a lot of shots in with my coaches, and... in the game it just came to me," Haywood said. "My teammates found me and they've been waiting for me to shoot like this."
Roosevelt Smart paced North Texas (3-3) with 14 points, all in the second half, and he was the Mean Green's only double-digit scorer. After averaging 85.6 points on 46.9 percent shooting in five games, the visitors shot just 39.1 percent.
Tech's Ben Lammers and freshman Moses Wright each blocked three shots.
"I could tell we were struggling with the changes of (Tech's) defenses," said first-year North Texas head coach Grant McCasland. "We had nineteen turnovers; that's a credit to their aggressiveness."
Georgia Tech senior guard Tadric Jackson added 14 points off the bench — 11 in the second half — in his first action since serving a three-game suspension for receiving benefits in violation of NCAA rules.
Yellow Jackets head coach Josh Pastner went with a smaller lineup most of the second half, removing forward Abdoulaye Gueye — whom North Texas was sagging off of — inserting Jackson.
The Jackets shot 30.8 percent in the first half, and 55.6 in the second.
"They didn't guard Abdoulaye," Pastner said. "They didn't guard a couple of our guys and we needed to size down (and add shooters)."
North Texas: The Mean Green out-rebounded Tech, 31-24, and while making 8 of 15 from 3-point range, they were just 10 of 31 inside the arc. "We shot it well from 3," McCasland said. "Just wish we would have shot more of them... it was just hard to score around the rim."
Georgia Tech: Sophomore guard Justin Moore served the second and final game of his two-game suspension for violating unspecified NCAA rules, and sophomore guard Josh Okokie has two games remaining on his six-game suspension for receiving impermissible benefits.
Alvarado led Tech with seven rebounds, and the 6-foot freshman from New York City is the second-leading scorer (14.3 ppg) for the Jackets and the second-leading rebounder with almost six per game. "I knew when we were recruiting Jose what he was about... sticking your nose in there on tough, inside rebounds and 50-50 balls," Pastner said. "It's a blue-collar mentality, and it's a blue-collar school," he said of Christ the King high school.
After putting up 11 points, grabbing four rebounds and adding three blocks and three steals, Lammers still leads Tech in all four categories, but the senior center wasn't whole Friday after spraining an ankle late in Wednesday's win over Texas-Rio Grande Valley. "Credit to Richard Stewart, our trainer," Pastner said. "We didn't know if he was going to play."
North Texas will return to Denton to play Grambling State on Monday night before traveling for another big road game Thursday at Oklahoma.
Georgia Tech will have three days off after playing three games in a six-day span, and then take on Northwestern Tuesday night in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge.