Irish Struggle On Both Ends In Second Half Of 63-61 Loss To Georgia Tech
Notre Dame (11-8, 1-5) fell victim to a familiar theme on Tuesday night as the Irish struggled offensively in a 63-61 loss to Georgia Tech (11-8, 3-3) in Atlanta.
The Irish made just two of their opening 10 attempts in the first half from the floor to fall behind early, but still managed to take a 30-28 lead into halftime. However, Georgia Tech shot over 50 percent in the second half to pick up a home win.
Here is Blue & Gold Illustrated's recap of the contest.
It was a rough start for the Irish from the floor, to say the least. Notre Dame hit just one of the team’s first eight attempts to allow the Yellow Jackets to build an early 11-4 lead with 14:36 left in the half.
Big man Marcus Banks got the scoring starting with a bucket in the lane, which hthe Irish countered with a pair of free throws from DJ Harvey. A 5-0 run by the Yellow Jackets behind buckets from Banks and guard Jose Alvarado, the team’s leading scorer, pushed the team’s lead to 7-2.
Irish forward John Mooney got the team’s first bucket to close the gap to 7-4, but Josh Pastner’s group got back-to-back buckets from forward Abdoulaye Gueye and Banks.
After Georgia Tech pushed its lead to 13-4, the Irish finally got some buckets to ball with a tip in via Mooney and three-pointer from guard Nik Djogo to make it 13-9 Yellow Jackets with 13:10 left.
Both teams got buckets in the paint before the under-12 media timeout came (10:42) with the Yellow Jackets still up four at 15-11.
Cold streaks found both teams as they combined to miss their next 11 shots after Irish guard TJ Gibbs made it 15-11. Thanks to free throws, Georgia Tech led 17-12 with 7:38 remaining with both teams making just two total shots on their last 17 combined attempts.
Georgia Tech remained up by two possessions (20-16) after Irish forward Nate Laszewski made a layup with under six minutes to play. But, it was the start of nice offensive display by both teams as each would go on to make two three-pointers over the next minute-plus with Laszewski knocking down both for the Irish on back-to-back possessions.
After Georgia Tech guard Michael Devoe connected on the second for his team, Mooney secured his seventh and eighth points of the game with layup to make it 26-24 Yellow Jackets with under four minutes left.
Mooney would go on to score the next six points to push the Irish into a 30-28 halftime lead as three turnovers during the last 2:23 kept the Yellow Jackets from finding a late flow offensively.
Mooney recorded his 11th double-double of the season with his first half performance of 14 points and 10 rebounds. Laszewski added eight points to round out the top scorers for Notre Dame in the half.
Brey’s group hit 11-of-35 (31.4 percent) from the field to open the game and just 3-of-14 behind the arc (21.4 percent). Georgia Tech countered with an 11-of-28 (39.3 percent) effort from the field. Both teams combined for 18 total turnovers.
Much like the first half, Notre Dame could not buy a bucket early making just one of their first seven attempts of the second half. That allowed the Yellow Jackets to regain a 34-32 lead going into the under-16 media timeout behind two buckets from Gueye and one via Alvarado.
For the Irish, four of their seven attempts came behind the arc (all misses) with their one field goal coming on a Harvey jumper.
Notre Dame quickly regained the lead out of the break with another triple from Laszewski falling. A three-pointer from Goodwin was sandwiched between two jumpers via Banks to tie the game at 38 apiece with 14:43 left.
Mooney would hit a baseline jumper to put Notre Dame back up 40-38 before the Yellow Jackets jumped back ahead behind a Gueye free throw and Banks dunk. Not be outdone, Laszewski found Mooney near the bucket for a monstrous dunk to put Notre Dame up 42-41 going into the under-12 media timeout.
Georgia Tech, however, would respond with a 6-0 run to take a 47-42 lead as the Irish went cold again from the field missing six-straight shots after Mooney’s dunk. A pair of converted free throws from Laszewski kept Notre Dame within one possession at 47-44 with 7:33 remaining.
Out of the break, Brey was called for a technical arguing a call which led to a pair of free throws from Alvarado. The Yellow Jackets followed with a layup from Devoe to make it a 51-44 Georgia Tech advantage with 7:11 remaining.
Gibbs would hit his first three-pointer of the contest on the next possession to end Notre Dame’s field goal drought of nearly six minutes. But, a combined 7-0 run from Moore and Alvarado gave Georgia Tech their largest lead of the game at 58-47.
Notre Dame countered with layups from Goodwin and Mooney going into the under-4 media timeout to cut the Yellow Jackets lead to 58-51.
Laszewski would hit another triple to cut deficit to five and was fouled on a three-pointer on the next Irish possession. The freshman converted all three to make it 59-57 Yellow Jackets with 2:46 remaining.
Notre Dame had multiple chances to tie or take the lead late, but Georgia Tech was able to secure an offensive rebound and a tip in from Gueye to put the Yellow Jackets back up two possessions at 61-57 with under one minute to play.
Gibbs made it a one possession with a pair of free throws. The Irish had to foul and sent Alvarado to the line. The sophomore stepped up and hit both to essentially clinch the contest for Georgia Tech.
Mooney hit a hook shot before the clock hit zero, but it did not matter as the Yellow Jackets claimed a 63-61 win.
Georgia Tech shot 54.2 percent in the second half, while the Irish finished at 33.3 percent to come up just short in another ACC contest. Mooney finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds and Laszewski added a career-high 19 points. Only one other Irish player (Gibbs) finished over six points.