In a day where the upset bug spread around the ACC conference, Notre Dame became the first victim to lose to an unranked opponent as the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets upset the #14 Fighting Irish 62-60.
Following Notre Dame’s loss, Florida State and North Carolina became the other victims of the upset plague, as the Seminoles lost to Syracuse where as the Tar Heels were routed by Miami. While Notre Dame had lost to Florida State and has yet to play the Tar Heels, they have beaten both teams that upset the top teams in the ACC.
Before Georgia Tech’s big win over the top ranked Seminoles last Wednesday night, the Yellow Jackets were 11-8 and seemed like an easy team the Fighting Irish could get passed before taking on their next opponent in the Duke Blue Devils.
However, Georgia Tech’s 22 point win over the Seminoles proved how deep the ACC really is and how capable they are to hanging around with the nations best teams.
Notre Dame and Georgia Tech split last years series, with the Irish taking care of business at home while falling to the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta by one point later in the season.
Last years second meeting between these two teams came down to the last second and this years match followed suit.
Notre Dame led for majority of the first half leading by as much as nine points with 10 minutes left in the half before Georgia Tech went on an 8-2 run and eventually pulled ahead by one with under five minutes left in the first half.
The Yellow Jackets then went on a 7-0 run to extend their lead further, before Matt Farrell closed out the first half with a three pointer. Notre Dame trailed 35-31 entering the locker room after shooting 42.3% from the field, 55.6% from three point range and going four for six from the charity stripe.
The second half was a very low scoring 20 minutes with the Fighting Irish opening with a 6-0 run and eventually leading 39-38 five minutes into play. However Georgia Tech eventually seized back their lead.
With five minutes left in the game and the Yellow Jackets leading 60-55, Georgia Tech wouldn’t score again until the final seconds of the game to win.
With nine seconds left in the game and the game tied at 60, Matt Farrell would drive into the key and miss the jumper to put the game away. Georgia Tech’s Tadric Jackson pulled down the rebound and cross court passed to teammate Josh Okogie who would make the game winning layup at the buzzer to hand Notre Dame their second straight loss.
“I’m proud of our group, in a tough atmosphere we kept trying and kept scratching and had our chances” said Head Coach Mike Brey following the game, “our defensive balance wasn’t very good and they made a great play. Can’t dwell on it much because we got a game on Monday”.
VJ Beachem led the Irish with 23 points after a cold performance against Virginia where he only recorded three points. The senior forward also recorded four rebounds and went 10 for 16 from the field.
Bonzie Colson recorded another double-double scoring 13 points and grabbing 13 rebounds while point guard Matt Farrell put up 15 points, dished out four assists and recorded three steals.
Steve Vasturia had himself an off night, scoring only five points going one for seven from the field and one for four from the three point line. The senior also recorded four rebounds, three steals and dished out three assists.
“We certainly aren’t going to beat many people without Steve not playing well. We need those four guys, you know those four guys really have to play well to beat good teams in the league. Georgia Tech is a very good team, I believe they are going to be an NCAA Tournament team”.
The Fighting Irish will turn their attention to Duke after back to back losses, as the Blue Devils come to South Bend on Monday January 30th. Tip off is set for 7 PM and will be broadcasting live on ESPN.
Duke is coming off a close win against Wake Forest after a two point loss to North Carolina State.
Notre Dame won both games last year against the Blue Devils; one at Cameron Indoor Stadium and the second in over time in the ACC conference tournament.
– R. Scarfone