ATLANTA -- Brian Gregory knew there would be some tough times when he took over a major rebuilding project at Georgia Tech.
This one was really, really tough.
The Yellow Jackets (8-10, 1-3 ACC) were held to their lowest point total in nearly 30 years, a 70-38 at the hands of No. 15 Virginia on Thursday night.
“When you’re trying to rebuild a program and do some things, unfortunately there’s going to be some nights like this,” said Gregory, the team’s first-year head coach. “As a competitor, it ticks you off. But we’ve got to bounce back.”
Mike Scott scored 18 points and Joe Harris added 16 for the Cavaliers, who were never seriously threatened in an impressive bounce-back game after a tough loss at Duke snapped their 12-game winning streak.
“They just attacked us and we weren’t ready for it,” Georgia Tech center Daniel Miller said. “They were tougher than us.”
The Cavaliers (15-2, 2-1) held Georgia Tech to its lowest-scoring game since a 53-38 loss to Wake Forest on Feb. 6, 1982, during Bobby Cremins’ first season as its head coach.
“We caught them on an off night, and we were right,” Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said. “I didn’t expect it to be like this, but I’ll certainly take it and hope we can keep building on it.”
Coming off a 61-58 defeat at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Virginia wasted no time getting started on a new streak, taking advantage of a team that doesn’t have a true home arena -- Georgia Tech is playing at Philips Arena while its campus facility undergoes a major renovation -- nor much ACC-level talent.
Kammeon Holsey, with 12 points, was the only player in double figures for Georgia Tech, which shot only 29 percent (14-of-48) from the field, was 1-of-15 from beyond the 3-point arc and was outrebounded by a staggering 45-22 margin.
“Obviously we knew we would have some difficulty at times making baskets,” Gregory said. “Our margin of error is very small. We almost have to make every open shot we get.”
The Cavaliers held Georgia Tech to only two points during a span of nearly six minutes in the first half, a stretch that essentially decided the game. The Yellow Jackets made 1-of-7 shots during that drought and never got the margin below double figures the rest of the way.
Led by Harris’ 11 points, the Cavaliers went to the locker room in total control, up 35-17. They held Georgia Tech to 8-of-26 shooting (31 percent), outrebounded the Yellow Jackets 23-12 and turned it over only once.
Virginia kept it up in the second half, going 28-of-58 (48 percent) from the field. Harris finished with 16 points, while Jontel Evans gave Georgia Tech fits with his quickness and ability to penetrate.
“We couldn’t keep him in front of us,” Gregory said.