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Men's Basketball: Meyinsse finally receives opportunity to contribute

The message was sent moments before Wednesday's win over No. 20 Georgia Tech, when Jerome Meyinsse was seated on the bench along with the four other starters. Meyinsse returned to the starting lineup, replacing the slighter Will Sherrill and providing a physical presence against Georgia Tech's celebrated front line.

"I knew Georgia Tech was the most physical team we were going to play all year," Meyinsse said. "The key to the game was the inside game, and I knew I’d have to step up and match [Georgia Tech's Gani] Lawal’s intensity."

Meyinsse responded with the type of game Coach Tony Bennett hoped the 6-foot-9, 233-pound senior would provide. He scored eight points, grabbed six rebounds (including four on offense) and made the night difficult for Lawal, who finished with 12 points and only four rebounds.

For someone who had played sparingly in his first four seasons, the performance carried significance.

"I have the ability to play in the ACC," he quickly replied when asked if he proved anything in the performance.

His coach already believed as much. Without many post players, Bennett believes Meyinsse is his most physical interior player. Assane Sene might provide height and energy, and Will Sherrill provides versatility and an understanding of system, but Meyinsse is a smart, tough big man who accepts his role of matching up against an opponent's physical player.

"He’s a strong kid," Bennett said. "He took a couple [elbows], got some big rebounds. Just battled, made a big post move, gave us a good lift. He’s done that when he’s called upon all year."

By Zach Berman  |  January 14, 2010; 1:48 PM ET
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