Georgia Tech’s aggressive play at the basket in the final 10 minutes was the difference on Wednesday as the Yellow Jackets knocked off Notre Dame 60-53 at McCamish Pavilion
Georgia Tech (9-7, 2-1) drove it to the basket behind Josh Okogie (17 points) and Tadric Jackson (11 points) and pulled away in the final five minutes.
The score was tied 39-39 when Georgia Tech began to attack. After Okogie nailed a 3-pointer, Jackson scored on back-to-back drives. That was followed by a driving basket and free throw by Jose Alvarado and a trey by Jackson.
Suddenly Georgia Tech had used 11-2 run to take a nine-point lead. Notre Dame never got closer than three.
The Irish (13-4, 3-1) were playing without two starters.
The Yellow Jackets turned up the defense on Notre Dame in the final nine minutes of the first half and took a 30-20 lead at intermission.
Notre Dame led 17-16 with 8:55 remaining when Georgia Tech went on a 13-0 run. Notre Dame didn’t score a basket during that stretch, getting its only two points on a pair of John Mooney free throws.
The lead didn’t last. Notre Dame found a way to get the ball inside to Martinas Geben and outside to T.J. Gibbs. They scored 15 of Notre Dame’s first 18 points in the second half and the Irish took a 38-37 lead on a Geben slam with 11:09 left.
Three who mattered
Okogie: The sophomore scored 17 points on 6-for-13 shooting and had four rebounds and five assists. He’s scored in double figures in each of the eight games he’s played since returning from injury.
Jackson: He had a big 3-pointer, but was again effective with penetration to the basket. The senior also came up with nine rebounds and two assists.
Geben: The senior tried to fill the roll left by the injury to Bonzie Colson. He had 16 points and nine rebounds and was a handful for Georgia Tech center Ben Lammers all night.
Georgia Tech had blown a 10-point halftime lead and the score was tied 39-39. After Okogie hit a 3-pointer, Georgia Tech got back-to-back stops and Jackson scored on consecutive drives to the basket to give the Yellow Jackets a lead it would not relinquish.
Better on second-chance points: Georgia Tech didn’t score a second-chance basket in the first meeting at Notre Dame. The Yellow Jackets got 10 of them on Wednesday, which helped determine the outcome.
No free throws: For as much as Georgia Tech took it to the basket, the Yellow Jackets didn’t get the benefit of many fouls. They didn’t get into the bonus until 18 seconds left in the game and shot only six free throws, making five.
A.D. continues to improve: Forward Abdoulaye “A.D.” Gueye continues to grow in confidence on the offensive side. A defensive stalwart all season, Gueye has gotten more comfortable with the ball in the low post. He finished with eight points, six rebounds and two blocks.
Starting the same bunch: Georgia Tech started the same five players for the fifth straight game: Ben Lammers at center, Abdoulaye Gueye at forward, and Josh Okogie, Brandon Alston and Jose Alvarado at guard.
Irish down two starters: Notre Dame was without starting forward Bonzie Colson (foot surgery) and guard Matt Farrell (ankle). The duo combined for 32 points when the teams played in South Bend just 10 days ago.
Supporting the home team: The Yellow Jackets promotion team put together a giveaway night for the students and drew a big crowd. The student section on the floor and behind the basket was fuller than it’s been all season.
Georgia Tech plays at Pittsburgh at 2 p.m. Saturday.