This is a game that could serve as a momentum changer for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Tech–behind a 20 point effort by Trae Golden and a double-double by Daniel Miller of 10 points and 13 rebounds–earned their first ACC conference win, 74-69, over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
The game was a see-saw battle that saw Georgia Tech go on three big runs during the game only to have Notre Dame battle back to make the game tight. In the first half Georgia Tech started the game with a 17-4, before the Irish closed to within two points at 25-23 with 8:01 left. Then, after the Yellow Jackets went on another run of 10-0 to build a 33-23 lead, Notre Dame came storming back to close the gap to 37-35 before Trae Golden hit two free throws to make it a 39-35 game at the intermission.
The second half started off with more of the same. Georgia Tech built the lead up to 15 points at 54-39 with 13:59 left. But Notre Dame from that point held the Yellow Jackets scoreless for almost five minutes to climb back into the game with the score being 54-52 Tech with 9:09 left. From the 9:09 mark on the game was a slugfest with Notre Dame finally grabbing a lead at one point 64-62 with 3:48 left in the game. But when Trae Golden hit a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left in the game to give Tech a 70-68 lead the momentum was on the Yellow Jackets side to close out the game and win 74-69.
One of the big surprises of the game was how well the Yellow Jackets shot from outside, going 33.3% from behind the arc, and hitting the crucial threes when they were needed. Every time the Irish went into a zone defense to try to guard against Tech’s inside game, one of the Tech guards sunk a three-pointer or long jumpshot to break it up.
This game was the kind of battle that Georgia Tech needed to build their confidence. Jackets head coach Brian Gregory has to be pleased with the effort and perseverance that his team put forth in this game. He also has to be pleased with how his bench played. Guard Chris Bolden found his shot today, going 4 of 8 from 3-point range and scoring 14 points. Quinton Stephens had eight points and three rebounds and was a big defensive presence off the bench.
Georgia Tech is now 10-6 and 1-2 in the ACC. Next, Tech will be looking to continue their winning ways at home when Coach Jamie Dixon brings the University of Pittsburgh Panthers to McCamish Pavilion.