ATLANTA -- Diontae Jones had 18 points and nine rebounds Friday night when a Georgia Tech player inadvertently tipped a shot into the wrong basket with 6.5 seconds left to send Grambling State to a 64-63 upset win over the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech (4-2) had scrambled back from a 16-point deficit to lead 61-60 when Jose Alvarado hit his fourth 3-pointer of the second half with 1:01 left in the game.
Alvarado scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half, including 11 straight as the Jackets began their rally against the Tigers (2-5), who got 14 points each from Ivy Smith Jr. and Axel Mpoyo.
Alvarado gave Tech a 63-60 lead with two free throws with 43 seconds to go before Smith hit a pair of free throws with no time having gone off the clock because Tech's Brandon Alston was whistled for a foul on Grambling State's inbounds pass.
After Tech failed to score on the ensuing possession, the Tigers ran the clock down before Smith missed a drive in the waning seconds. A couple of Tech players got hands on the ball as it came off the rim, sending it back in for the upset.
"Man, what a finish; that's all I can say. What a finish,'' said first-year Grambling State coach Donte Jackson. "Somehow, some way we found a way to get lucky, and the basketball gods were with us today.''
The game-winning basket was credited as an own basket. The rule is explained as follows:
"If the touching by Team B came after an attempt, either a FGA or a FTA, by Team A that had obviously missed and there was no control by Team B, then a FGA or FTA is charged to Team A on the original shot. No FGM is credited or FGA charged on the tip-in to either team. Instead, two points are added to Team A's score and a footnote is added to explain the extra points. Also, a dead-ball rebound is credited to Team A. On the box score, the two points should appear on the line used for team rebounds. An asterisk should be placed by the two points and an explanation for the asterisk should be written in the form of a footnote."
Tech leading scorer Ben Lammers, who has rarely practiced recently because of a sprained ankle, missed all six of his shots before halftime, and while he had nine rebounds and seven blocked shots, he finished 1-of-7 from the field. Senior guard Tadric Jackson scored 19 points for Tech.
"This one hurts. We just have to keep our heads up,'' Alvarado said. "We just have to come out with more energy from the jump.''
Grambling State: The Tigers closed their seven-game, season-opening road trip in high style with one of the biggest wins in school history.
Grambling had lost its past 63 games against teams from power six conferences -- by an average of 34.7 points, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets got hot late, especially Alvarado and Curtis Haywood II, but were dreadful shooting the ball most of the game. They made just 9-of-30 shots in the first half, including 3-of-13 3-pointers.
Georgia Tech sophomore guard Josh Okogie, who led the Jackets in scoring last season with 16.1 points per game, on Friday finished his six-game suspension for receiving benefits impermissible under NCAA rules, but he won't play any time soon. He suffered a compound fracture of his left index finger in a preseason exhibition game Oct. 28, and coach Josh Pastner said that while the bone has healed nicely, infection worries may sideline Okogie for another four weeks or so.
Grambling State will finally play a home game, after seven on the road, on Monday in hosting Tougaloo College (Miss.) -- a historically black college established by Christian missionaries for freed slaves around 1871 -- before playing five more games on the road, including a Dec. 28 game at Seattle.
Georgia Tech will close out a six-game homestand Sunday with an evening game against Tennessee before the Yellow Jackets play their first true road game, at Wofford, on Wednesday. Tech's only other game away from McCamish Pavilion so far was a 63-60 season-opening loss to UCLA in Shanghai, China.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.