THE FLATS – Miles Kelly scored a game-high-tying 25 points, Naithan George dished out 11 assists – the most by a Yellow Jacket in 15 years – and Baye Ndongo hit a 3-pointer with 5.5 seconds to go in regulation to force overtime, but Georgia Tech men’s basketball made just 1-of-8 shots in the extra period and dropped a 75-68 OT decision to Notre Dame on Tuesday evening at McCamish Pavilion.
In what has become one of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s most closely contested rivalries, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame went to overtime for the third time in their last five meetings. Since 2007, 16 of the 22 matchups between Tech and ND have been decided by five points or less and/or in overtime.
The latest nail-biter between the Yellow Jackets and Fighting Irish featured nine ties and 11 lead changes, with Notre Dame holding the lead for 20 minutes even and Tech holding the advantage for 19 minutes, 56 seconds.
A 6-2 Notre Dame run over a 1:11 span gave the Irish a 66-63 lead in the waning seconds of regulation. After ND’s Braeden Shrewsberry made a pair of free throws to give the Irish the three-point lead with 16 seconds left on the clock, George brought the ball up the right sideline, looking for Kelly, who had made 7-of-12 3-pointers in regulation. However, with Kelly closely covered, George dished to Ndongo at the top of the key and the 6-foot-9 forward drilled his third 3-point field goal of the season to send the contest to overtime knotted at 66-66.
Notre Dame got on the board first in overtime on a 3-pointer by Julian Roper II, but George pulled the Yellow Jackets within a point on a pull-up jumper midway through the OT period. However, those would be the last points the Jackets would score, as they missed their final five shots of the game. Notre Dame did not fare much better from the field in OT, as it made just 1-of-5 shots, but the Fighting Irish made all six of their free throws in the extra period to seal the victory.
With 25 points, Kelly reached the 20-point plateau for the sixth time in his last 10 ACC games dating back to last season, and his seven 3-pointers matched a career high. George’s 11 assists were the most by a Yellow Jacket since Iman Shumpert dished out 12 against Penn State on Dec. 3, 2008. Ndongo came up just one rebound shy of a double-double, finishing with 16 points and a team-high nine boards.
Georgia Tech held Notre Dame star Markus Burton to just 12 points on 4-of-18 shooting, his lowest scoring total since Dec. 2. However, Shrewsberry came off the bench to lead the Irish with 25 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range.
Tech returns to action on Saturday when it visits No. 12/11 Duke. Tipoff for the second game of the season between the Yellow Jackets and Blue Devils (Tech topped the seventh-ranked Devils, 72-68, on Dec. 2) is set for 5 p.m. and will be televised nationally on ACC Network.
Miles Kelly’s 25 points were his most since the second game of the season. (photo by Danny Karnik)
- The 11 games between Tech and Notre Dame at McCamish Pavilion since the Fighting Irish joined the ACC have been decided by a total of 35 points. Tuesday’s result was the widest margin of victory by either side in those 11 games.
- Tech and Notre Dame have played to overtime three times in their last five meetings.
- Tech is 6-5 since freshmen Baye Ndongo and Naithan George entered the starting lineup Nov. 28 against Mississippi State.
- Tech has outrebounded 10 of 15 opponents and tied one this season, after Notre Dame outrebounded the Jackets 48-33 Tuesday night. Tech entered the game with a plus-5.9 rebounding margin and ranked No. 3 in the ACC, No. 67 nationally.
- Tech has averaged less than 10 turnovers (9 each vs. Hawai’i and Nevada, 10 FSU, 11 vs. BC, 10 vs. Notre Dame) in its last five games, after averaging more than 19 in the three games prior.
- Tech tallied 20 assists on its 27 made field goals against Notre Dame, just the second time this season the Jackets have recorded 20 or more assists. Tech has assisted on 59.4 percent of its made field goals in ACC play.
- Tech forced 16 turnovers and had 10 steals against Notre Dame, the most for the Jackets in each category since the season opener against Georgia Southern.
- Tech has connected on 21-of-58 from three-point range (36.2 pct.) in its last two games, after failing to hit more than 30,4 percent in any game over the prior 12 contests. The Jackets have connected on 29.6 percent this season from beyond the arc.
- Miles Kelly and Kowacie Reeves, Jr., are the only Tech players to start every game this season.
- Deebo Coleman and Kyle Sturdivant have not started a game this year, but have been on the floor for 11 and 9 of Tech’s games, respectively, at the finish.
- At least nine players have seen the court in 14 of Tech’s first 15 games (only eight played against Hawai’i). Eleven players average more than 10 minutes per game.
- Tech is 3-5 against Quad 1 and Quad 2 teams this season (UMass was a Quad 2 win, while Nevada was a Quad 1 opportunity). The Jackets’ remaining ACC schedule has eight Quad 1 and four Quad 2 opponents. Tech was 3-14 last season against Quad 1/2 foes.
- Miles Kelly’s 25 points against Notre Dame were his most since the first two games of the season, when he tallied 25 against Georgia Southern and 27 against Howard.
- Kelly has scored 20 or more points in six of his last 11 ACC games, and has averaged 19.9 points across those 11 games, hitting 47.2 percent of his field goal tries and 43.9 of his three-point attempts.
- Kelly is averaging 18.3 points over four ACC games this season, and his shooting percentages are well above his full-season norms – 44.1 percent from the floor, 40.0 percent from three-point range and 70.0 percent from the foul line.
- Kelly leads Tech in getting to the free throw line, attempting 73 foul shots this season after trying 59 all of 2022-23, but he has tried just one in Tech’s last two games.
- Kelly has hit 12-of-27 three-point tries in his last three games after hitting just 2-for-25 from behind the three-point line in the four games prior.
- Baye Ndongo has scored in double digits in Tech’s last seven games, averaging 15.7 points and 10.7 rebounds, and has hit on 68.7 percent of his field goals (46-of-67).
- Ndongo ranks No. 2 in the nation among freshmen in field goal percentage (59.3) and rebound average (9.2).
- Kyle Sturdivant has 15 assists and three turnovers in his last two games, and has a 50/24 (2.08-to-1) ratio for the season, 19/5 vs. the ACC.
- Kowacie Reeves, Jr., has hit 44.4-percent of his shots from the floor for the season, a team-best 39.7 percent from three-point range and 82.5 percent from the foul line. He is Tech’s No. 3 scorer at 12.3 points per game.
- Three Tech players – Kelly, Baye Ndongo and Reeves, Jr., are averaging 14.5 points or better in ACC games this season. They have combined to hit 50.3 percent from the floor and 45.3 percent from three-point range.
- Freshman Naithan George has started Tech’s last 11 games at the point guard position and has averaged 7.3 points and 5.0 assists in those games. His 11 assists against Notre Dame were the most for a Tech player since Iman Shumpert dished 12 against Penn State on Dec. 3, 2008. George has had four games of eight or more assists this season.
- George and Sturdivant have recorded 33 assists and just eight turnovers combined in Tech’s last three games. For the season the point guard combo has 105 assists vs. 47 turnovers, a 2.23-to-1 ratio (3.54-to-1 in ACC games).
- Deebo Coleman has just six turnovers this season in 362 minutes (none in 101 ACC minutes), and has had 11 turnover-free games.
Naithan George dished 11 assists, most for a Tech player since 2008. (photo by Danny Karnik)