Offensive inconsistency again derailed Georgia Tech on Saturday. And this time it cost them an opportunity to steal an ACC win on the road at Notre Dame.
The Yellow Jackets shot only 38 percent from the field, scored zero second-chance points and missed 11 free throws in a 68-59 loss to the Fighting Irish in the conference opener at Purcell Pavilion.
An improvement in any of those areas could have made the difference for Georgia Tech (6-7, 0-1 ACC).
A superb defensive first half allowed Georgia Tech to take a 28-23 lead into the dressing room. But Notre Dame scored the first eight points of the second half and took the lead on Bonzie Colson’s three-point play with 17:55.
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That was part of a 19-6 run by the Irish that enabled them to expand their lead to eight points. Georgia Tech never got closer than four points the rest of the game.
The win was the 393rd for Notre Dame coach Mike Brey, which ties him with Digger Phelps as the school’s winningest coach.
Three who mattered
Georgia Tech guard Tadric Jackson: The senior from Tifton came off the bench to score 15 points. He was 7-for-13 from the field, added four rebounds and three assists. He has scored 14-plus in the last four games.
Georgia Tech center Ben Lammers: The senior made only 5-for-18 from the field for 12 points. He had 12 rebounds and four blocked shots. Lammers looks more like his old self on defense, but the offensive part of his game has yet to come around.
Notre Dame forward Bonzie Colson: The senior, the league’s preseason Player of the Year choice, had 22 points and 17 rebounds. Six of Colson’s rebounds were on the offensive glass and one led to a late bucket at the end of the first half that helped change the momentum. He added three blocks and two steals.
With the game tied early in the second half, Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie missed a quick 3-pointer. Notre Dame grabbed the rebound, rushed it downcourt and got it inside to Colson, who made the basket and ensuing free throw. It was the first lead of the game for the Irish.
A decent debut: Freshman Jose Alvarado was solid in his first ACC game. The point guard scored 11 points, making a pair of 3-pointers.
Free throws a no-go: Georgia Tech hit only 7 of 18 from the line, a poor 38.9 percent. It was an uncharacteristic showing. The team averages 72.4 percent from the line and hit 20 of 21 in the previous game.
Better on turnovers: The Yellow Jackets committed just seven turnovers against the Irish, leading to seven points. Ball protection had been a point of emphasis for the last week.
A solid first half: The Yellow Jackets were especially good on defense in the first 20 minutes. They limited Notre Dame to 30 percent from the field and led 28-23 at halftime.
No Moses: Freshman Moses Wright did not enter the game on Saturday. Pastner did not like the way Wright had practiced the two previous days and did not play him. Wright had started the last four games.
The starting five: Georgia Tech’s opening lineup was center Ben Lammers, forward Aboulaye Gueye, and guards Brandon Alston, Josh Okogie and Jose Alvarado. Lammers and Alvarado are the only two players who have started all 13 games.
They said it
Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner on the offense’s struggles: “One of those things where we couldn’t score. We had some great looks against their defense at times. We’re counting on Ben. He had 22, but he really wasn’t very efficient.”
Pastner on Jackson’s effort: “Tadric was efficient. The biggest thing is he’s got to stop taking 3s. He’s one of the best in the country in two-point field goal percentage.”
Jackson on the free throw troubles: “We’ve got to step up and make free throws. It’s nothing that’s happened, nothing’s going on. Take time and put the ball in the basket. It’s simple.”
Georgia Tech hosts Miami on Wednesday at 9 p.m.