In their ACC home opener, Georgia Tech came away with a win against conference newcomer Notre Dame in front of an electric crowd at McCamish Pavilion. Sr PG Trae Golden carried the team with 20 points and 4 assists in 28 minutes, including a go-ahead three-pointer with :44 left. Four free throws from Chris Bolden and Quinton Stephens would then seal it for the Jackets. Bolden ended up the Jackets' second-leading scorer with a season-high 14 points, including the two late free throws and four 3-pointers, something we haven't seen from him all year. It was just Bolden's second game this year where he hit multiple 3-pointers, a major change from last year when he was recognized as the Jackets' sharpshooter.
The crowd was a lively one at McCamish Pavilion, where 7,727 showed up to cheer on Georgia Tech. (Well, mostly for Georgia Tech -- there was a clear Notre Dame presence as well.) In fact, Coach Brian Gregory noticed the atmosphere and thought it played a pretty major role in the game.
Our guys played with great intensity, but all that did was match the intensity that was in the arena. Great crowd, students were tremendous and just into it the whole game. We hadn’t been home in over a month, that’s a long time and we needed this. We don’t win this game without playing at home and playing with the crowd that we had. Part of the re-building is getting that back, where this is a difficult place to play. It was today."
When asked about the comparison between road atmospheres in the ACC and Big East, Notre Dame coach Mike Brey even chimed in on the praise.
"That was a great atmosphere. The one thing I tried to tell our fans and our team going into the ACC is that it’s going to be harder to win on the road than in the Big East because everything is an on campus facility...Their fans were great. Their fans probably gave them the confidence to win the basketball game."
The two teams now have identical records, at 10-6 (1-2). Georgia Tech has two more home games before having to travel again, against Pittsburgh on Tuesday and Miami next Saturday. At 15-1, Pittsburgh will offer a major challenge for the Jackets. However, if they play like they did for much of the game today, the Jackets will be a major challenge for the Panthers as well.
Were you in attendance today at the game? Did you watch on TV? Happy with the way Tech played? Does this give you optimism moving forward? Let's talk about it in the comments.