Jan. 10, 2018
THE FLATS — Sparked by a 14-4 run midway through the second half, Georgia Tech handed Notre Dame its first Atlantic Coast Conference defeat of the season with a 60-53 victory over the Fighting Irish on Wednesday evening at McCamish Pavilion.
With its third-straight victory, Georgia Tech (9-7, 2-1 ACC) avenged a 68-59 loss at Notre Dame (13-4, 3-1 ACC) just 12 days ago. The Jackets also snapped the Fighting Irish’s five-game winning streak.
After holding Notre Dame without a field goal for the final 8:55 of the first half, Georgia Tech led 30-20 at halftime. However, Notre Dame came out on fire after the break, going on a 14-2 run that gave the Irish their only lead of the second half with 11:16 to go.
ND’s advantage was short-lived, though, as the Yellow Jackets responded with a 14-4 run of their own over the next 3:58, capped by a Tadric Jackson three-pointer that gave Tech a 52-43 advantage with 7:18 to go in the ballgame. The Jackets’ lead never dipped below three points the rest of the way.
Josh Okogie led all scorers with 17 points while Ben Lammers added 10 points and 10 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season and 22nd of his career. Tadric Jackson added 11 points and a career-best nine rebounds for Georgia Tech.
Okogie darted into the lane and banked in a jumper with 2:05 remaining to give the Yellow Jackets a 58-53 lead. He tacked on two free throws with 18.1 seconds left to clinch the victory.
Notre Dame’s final points came on John Mooney’s dunk with 3:20 remaining. The Irish missed their final five shots, mirroring their struggles at the end of the first half.
The visiting team led 18-17 after Martinas Geben’s dunk with nearly nine minutes remaining in the opening period. Notre Dame managed only two free throws the rest of the half.
The Irish clanked their last 11 shots from the field, also missed four free throws and turned it over three times, allowing Georgia Tech to put together a 13-2 run and a 10-point edge at the half.
Notre Dame’s only lead of the second half, 38-37, came on Geben’s layup with 11:59 to go. Ben Lammers responded with a tip-in and Okogie’s 3-pointer put Georgia Tech ahead to stay, 42-39.
Geben led Notre Dame with 16 points, while Mooney and T.J. Gibbs had 11 apiece. The Irish made just under 36 percent from the field (21 of 59), including 4 of 18 from 3-point range.
Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish have shown plenty of grit without Colson and Farrell but couldn’t pull off another win. They were on cusp of cracking The Associated Press Top 25, missing out by only one spot in the latest poll, but this loss might keep them out for at least another week.
Georgia Tech: After a discouraging start to the season, including losses to Grambling State, Wofford and Wright State, the Yellow Jackets appear to be recapturing the form they showed last year on the way to the NIT title game. They’ve won two straight ACC games at McCamish Pavilion, showing an ability to at least protect their home court.
Notre Dame: Return to South Bend for the first of two straight ACC home games, hosting No. 20 North Carolina (13-4).
Georgia Tech: After wrapping up a three-game homestand, the Yellow Jackets hit the road for an ACC game against struggling Pittsburgh, which dropped to 8-9 on the season with a 87-52 loss to No. 7 Duke.