Feb. 26, 2017
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Matt Farrell’s timing was perfect for No. 21 Notre Dame on Sunday night.
Farrell’s desperation fallaway corner jumper at the shot-clock buzzer with 3:40 left was one of a handful of what he called winning plays in the second half of a 64-60 victory over Georgia Tech.
That shot kept the Yellow Jackets at bay after they cut Notre Dame’s lead to four points for the second time in the second half, which was when Farrell stepped up, scoring 14 of his 17 points.
Bonzie Colson did his part with 20 points and 11 rebounds, helping the Irish (22-7, 11-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) win their fifth straight.
Notre Dame struggled to shoot over Georgia Tech’s zone defense, going 10 of 29 from 3-point range. But Colson was on, stepping out to hit all three of his 3-point tries over Georgia Tech big man Ben Lammers.
”I was trying to shoot with confidence,” Colson said. ”We needed to stay patient on that end because of that one-three-one pushing out.”
Josh Heath’s jumper with four seconds left pulled Georgia Tech to 62-60, but Farrell made two free throws for the final margin, and the Irish played enough defense down the stretch to come out with the win.
Okogie scored nine points in the first six minutes of the game, but Colson got hot for the Irish not long after. Colson scored seven straight, including his second 3-pointer of the half and a pair of offensive putbacks, and the Irish took a 34-28 lead into halftime.
V.J. Beachem, who was battling the flu, hit a 3-pointer early in the second half to give Notre Dame nine-point lead, but the Irish missed their next seven shots. After Tech cut it to four in that stretch, Colson was there with another 3-pointer to give the Irish some breathing room.
”You look at it, it’s Colson,” Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said. ”I thought we did a good job on everybody else, but I probably didn’t spend enough time emphasizing his 3-point shooting.”
Georgia Tech won the first meeting on Jan. 28, 62-60 on Okogie’s buzzer-beating layup, an outcome that Pastner said looked unlikely when he first took over the Yellow Jackets.
”Our first workout in April, if you told me we’d lose by four points at Notre Dame, or at least split Notre Dame, I would tell you that you need to get checked,” Pastner said. ”From where we came to where we are now, we’ve come such a far way.”
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets fell to 1-6 on the road in the ACC and have to win their last two games to finish with a conference record of .500, a mark they haven’t reached since going 8-8 in 2007.
Notre Dame: After a week off following a road win at N.C. State, the Irish kept pace with Florida State and Louisville for second place in the league behind North Carolina.
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets host Pittsburgh on Tuesday and travel to Syracuse for their final regular-season game Saturday.
Notre Dame: The Irish host Boston College on Wednesday before closing out the regular season at No. 7 Louisville on Saturday.