basketball Edit

Georgia Tech stings Notre Dame with buzzer beater

Georgia Tech's Lance Terry tipped in a rebound as time expired to beat Notre Dame 70-68.
Georgia Tech's Lance Terry tipped in a rebound as time expired to beat Notre Dame 70-68. (Brett Davis-USA Today Sports)

Could this coaching exit be any more painful for Mike Brey?

Wednesday night in Atlanta, in the game’s final possession, Brey watched his ultra-veteran squad fail to execute a block-out and leave a 6-foot-2 guard completely unattended under the basket.

With less than a second on the clock, it was easy for lonely Lance Terry to tip in Kyle Sturdivant’s missed mid-range jumper and give Georgia Tech a 70-68 victory to end a nine-game losing streak in front of nearly 5,000 in McCamish Pavilion.

Brey didn’t talk about it immediately afterward, and it’s uncertain why assistant coach Hamlet Tibbs handled the post-game quotes that were provided by Notre Dame’s sports information department for out-of-town media. It was noted that Tibbs scouted the Yellow Jackets for the Irish staff.

Though there probably isn’t much more for Brey to say about his 23rd and last Notre Dame team – other than it just finds different ways to fall in a torturous 10-14 (2-11 Atlantic Coast Conference) season.

ND is 0-8 away from home, 0-6 in league play.



Georgia Tech, which has used 11 different starting lineups and entered the day in last place in the ACC, is 9-15 and 2-12, one of its ACC losses a 73-72 overtime game to the Irish in South Bend on Jan. 10.

In fact, the two teams have a unique history of their clashes going to the buzzer. The last 10 meetings have been decided by a total of 28 points.

Notre Dame had won seven of the last eight going into Wednesday’s game and that trend looked like it might hold up when the Irish climbed up six (62-56) after a 10-0 run with seven minutes to play.

But the lengthy scoring droughts that have plagued the Irish this season slammed them again.

Points late were hard to come by.

They got a couple of free throws from Cormac Ryan (13 points on 3-for-13 shooting, 1-for-6 on threes) at the 5:50 mark, a rebound bucket by Nate Laszewski (16 on 5-for-10 field goals) at the 2:44 mark and two more free throws by Ryan with 1:56 to play.

It wasn’t enough to hold off the Yellow Jackets who got a big boost at the 3:32 mark when Notre Dame’s Trey Wertz fouled Dallan “Deebo“ Coleman on a desperation 3-point attempt as the shot clock wound down. He made all three foul shots to give the Jackets a 65-64 lead.

In ND’s last three possessions, Ven-Allen Lubin had a shot blocked by Ja’von Franklin – Brey wanted a goaltending call – Ryan missed on a drive to the bucket in traffic and Laszewski’s jumper in the lane under pressure rolled out with 26 seconds to go to set up Tech’s last possession.

“I thought we had some pretty good looks,“ Tibbs said of the final three possessions.

But they were all one and done as Notre Dame had just five offensive rebounds.

Lubin, a 6-8 freshman who had missed a couple of games with an ankle issue, got his first start and delivered a career high 13 points (6-for-7), along with seven rebounds, but was limited to 22 minutes because of foul trouble.

“We thought he was going to be a difference-maker in this game,“ Tibbs said. “With him being available, just with his presence on the glass, his defense, his physicality, I thought he was gonna be a difference-maker for us.

“It was something that we didn't have in the first game (against Georgia Tech). We gave up 14 offensive rebounds (in the first meeting). I thought he did a really good job when he was in the lineup. It was a good job on the glass, so he was really effective.“

The Irish were better on the boards, allowing only eight offensive rebounds this time and only two in the second half, but was out-rebounded 36-32 overall.


The Irish also had to play, basically, without their second-leading scorer, freshman JJ Starling (12.3 points a game), who didn’t start because of stomach issues and played only 12 minutes (he averages 31).

He finished with just two points and went 1-for-5 from the field. Dane Goodwin had 14 points that included 3-for-5 shooting from the 3-point line and Marcus Hammond had 10. The balance was good with five players in double figures, but Wertz, averaging nine points a game, was held scoreless and took just two shots in 21 minutes.

Overall, it was hardly an impressive offensive performance against a last-place team with the Irish shooting 41.1% from the field and 33.3 from the 3-point line (8-for-24).

What’s more, Tech was better than usual at 45% from the field and 38.1% (8-for-21) from the arc.

Terry came in averaging 8.3 points a game and totaled 19. Franklin added 16, Sturdivant 12 and Coleman 11 – all above their season scoring averages.

Notre Dame hosts Virginia Tech on Saturday at 2 p.m. (EST).

Box score: Georgia Tech 70, Notre Dame 68


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