It took all 40 minutes but the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets pulled off their third top-25 upset at home this season as Josh Okogie hit the game winning layup as time expired.
The Quick Rundown:
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets pulled off their third top-25 upset of the season on Saturday and second in a row as they beat 14th ranked Notre Dame 62-60. The upset victory improves the Yellow Jackets record to 13-8 overall and a 5-4 conference record. Notre Dame drops to 17-5 and 6-3 in conference play.
While it didn’t look good for Georgia Tech early, being down 10-points within the first nine minutes, the Yellow Jackets showed resiliency throughout Saturday afternoon.
Despite having shooting troubles to start the game, the Yellow Jackets found consistency half way through the first half and clawed their way back into the game. The Yellow Jackets took advantage of mismatches in the front court, often finding Ben Lammers in the paint as he had 11 first half points. Ultimately, the Yellow Jackets were able to use a 21-4 run at the end of the first half to take a 35-31 lead heading into halftime.
While Notre Dame came out looking to take the lead in the second half, Georgia Tech was able to trade punches, neither team having more than a five-point lead in the second half. For the Yellow Jackets, their 11-of-23 shooting in the second half were just enough to pull out the upset victory. Notre Dame shot just 37% in the second half including making two of eight attempts from beyond the arch. Overall, Notre Dame’s shooting struggles mostly came when taking uncharacteristic shots trying to stop strong scoring runs by Georgia Tech, ultimately proving to be costly. While it wasn’t the prettiest win, the Yellow Jackets will surely take it for their 13th victory of the season.
Overall, the game between the two teams was evenly played throughout. The Yellow Jackets dominated on the boards throughout much of the game, ultimately ending up with a 37-29 edge. The Yellow Jackets shot strong offensively, shooting 48% while keeping the Irish to just 40%. Early in the game, Notre Dame was strong offensively, especially from beyond the arch making their first three, three pointers. However, they would make just 28% of their three point attempts throughout the rest of the game.
For the Yellow Jackets it wasn’t the usual duo of Josh Okogie and Ben Lammers leading the Yellow Jackets offensively. Instead, Tadric Jackson stepped up for Georgia Tech, dropping 25 points in the upset victory.
Lammers maintained his usual role and was the only other Yellow Jacket to score double digits on Saturday, scoring 15 points on 7-of-14 shooting. The junior center also contributed with 10 rebounds.
Until his game winner (see below), freshman Josh Okogie who has been consistent all season for Tech was held silent for most of Saturday’s game. After getting two quick fouls in the first half on Saturday, Okogie was forced to play limited minutes the remainder of the game.
Averaging 15.6 points per game coming into Saturday afternoon, Okogie had just six points prior to his game winner. Immediately before his game winner, Okogie missed what could have been two crucial free throws. The missed free throws would have given the Yellow Jackets a 62-60 lead heading to Notre Dame’s last possession.
However, the Yellow Jackets were able to force Notre Dame’s Matt Farrell into a poor shot, ultimately resulting in Okogie’s game winner.
Despite Okogie’s struggles, Josh Pastner decided to go with mainly just a six man rotation on Saturday. Okogie was the only starter on Saturday to play under 20 minutes. The remaining four starers played 38 minutes or more while Jackson saw 26 minutes of work off the bench. Freshman Justin Moore saw just one minute coming off the bench.
The Yellow Jackets will be off until Wednesday as they take on Clemson on the road. It will be the second meeting between the two rivals. Last time between the two, the Yellow Jackets pulled out a 75-63 victory.
Notre Dame will hope they don’t fall out of the top-25 after dropping three of their last four. They’ll have a fast turn around as they take on Duke, who has been reeling lately themselves.