Feb. 20, 2016
ATLANTA (AP) When Georgia Tech, trailing Notre Dame by one point, called a timeout with 10.4 seconds remaining, it was no secret that Marcus Georges-Hunt was being discussed in both huddles.
Even so, the Fighting Irish couldn’t stop the Yellow Jackets’ go-to scorer from delivering the decisive basket.
Georges-Hunt scored on a short jumper with 2 seconds remaining, lifting Georgia Tech to a 63-62 win over No. 19 Notre Dame on Saturday night.
Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory said there were options on the play, but no one was surprised the senior took the big shot.
”Coach called his name and he answered for him,” Georgia Tech’s Nick Jacobs said of Georges-Hunt, who had a game-high 19 points.
Georgia Tech (15-12, 5-9 Atlantic Coast Conference) has won back-to-back ACC games for the first time since late in the 2013-14 season.
Zach Auguste and V.J. Beachem each had 13 points for Notre Dame (18-8, 9-5), which had won three straight but lost a chance to remain within a game of the ACC lead.
Georgia Tech led for most of the first 30 minutes but needed a late comeback after Notre Dame went ahead 60-54.
Georges-Hunt drove and made a spin move past Steve Vasturia before stopping near the basket and lofting up a shot that hung briefly on the rim before falling in.
”As I spun I had the opportunity to lock in on the rim a little bit,” Georges-Hunt said, adding he ”stopped and paused” as the ball hung on the rim.
”It finally went in and everybody exploded,” he said.
Notre Dame didn’t have enough time to get off a final shot, and Georges-Hunt was mobbed by teammates near midcourt.
Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said he geared his defense to try to stop Georges-Hunt.
”Even though Steve got a pretty good chest on him, he’s so physical and strong,” Brey said of Georges-Hunt.
Vasturia said Georges-Hunt made ”a great shot.”
”I thought we had pretty good defense on him,” Vasturia said.
Following a missed jumper by Notre Dame guard Demetrius Jackson, the scramble for the loose ball led to a tie up, with possession awarded to Georgia Tech with 17.6 seconds remaining. The Yellow Jackets called timeout with 10.4 seconds left to set up the winning play.
Notre Dame’s last lead was 3-2 before the Fighting Irish fought back in the first 10 minutes of the second half. A 3-pointer by Beachem cut Georgia Tech’s lead to 46-45, and a layup by Auguste finally gave Notre Dame the lead at 47-46. Beachem quickly padded the advantage with another 3.
Notre Dame led 60-54 before back-to-back baskets by Charles Mitchell trimmed the margin to two.
Georges-Hunt became the first Georgia Tech player since Jason Floyd in 1999 to play the full 40 minutes. It came one game after Georges-Hunt set a career high by logging 38 minutes in a win at Florida State.
Clearly, Georgia Tech is going to ride the high-scoring senior down the stretch.
”I felt fine,” he said with a shrug.
Auguste is Notre Dame’s only starting senior. Georgia Tech has several key seniors, including Georges-Hunt, Jacobs, and Mitchell.
”They’re old and they’re men,” Brey said of the Yellow Jackets. ”They’re physical. We had a hard time dealing with them in the post with those big guys early.”
Said Jacobs when told of Brey’s comment: ”He said we’re old men? What are we, the Spurs?”
Notre Dame: Auguste heard from the Georgia Tech student section when he shot an airball on a free throw attempt in the second half. He then hit iron on the second attempt. … Jackson had 12 points and shot 5 of 13.
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets improved to 2-4 against Top 25 teams, including a 68-64 upset of then-No. 4 Virginia on Jan. 9. … Mitchell had 14 points and six rebounds. … Georgia Tech had not won back-to-back ACC games since winning three straight from March 4-12, 2014.
Notre Dame plays at Wake Forest on Wednesday night.
Georgia Tech hosts Clemson on Tuesday night.