This wasn't the game that most were expecting. Georgia Tech held one of the best offenses in the country relatively in check, although Notre Dame did get going in the second half. The Yellow Jackets were unable to take advantage of a terrible defensive team and had one of their worst offensive showings of the year.
Brian Gregory kept the changes that he had made to the starting lineup that had made such a big impact on the Virginia game, but it did not work in this one. James White, who dominated UVA on the boards, got two quick fouls and was more or less a non-factor in this game. Quinton Stephens, who scored 16 on just 8 shots against UVA, scored only 2 points on his 8 shots today. He was off all game and most of his misses weren't even close. He is one of the most hot and cold players I've ever seen and he was off today. Georges-Hunt and Adam Smith led the team offensively with 18 and 15 points respectively, even though neither was particularly efficient. Nick Jacobs had a huge stretch with about 12 minutes left in the game where he scored 10 straight points for Tech, but he was 0-9 the rest of the game. This was not the offense that Georgia Tech fans have seen all season. They could not hit the broad side of a barn and not a single player really played well offensively which resulted in an atrocious 33.3% from the field. Even their normally stout offensive rebounding was not there.
Notre Dame also struggled in the first half, but really turned their offense around in the second half. If it wasn't for their struggles from deep, going 2-15, this could have been a much different game (although the same can be said of Tech's shooting troubles). Notre Dame had 2 big differences from Georgia Tech that resulted in the win. The first was the play of Zach Auguste. He dominated inside, made smart cuts to get open, had 4 offensive rebounds and had an all around fantastic game. He ended up with 24 points on 10-13 shooting. When the rest of the team was struggling, he got them going again. The second was free throws. Notre Dame ended with a ridiculous 28-32 from the free throw line, 87.5%. They took full advantage of every opportunity led by Demetrius Jackson who went 13-14 from the line and made up for his 2-11 shooting from the field. On top of all of this, Notre Dame played one of their best defensive games all year, doing a great job of preventing the Jackets from getting to the basket and forcing late shot clock attempts.
This game followed a similar trend as previous ACC away games at Pittsburgh and UNC. In all three games, Georgia Tech held strong for most of the game, but was unable to get over the hump at the end. They have played well, but have not gotten wins to show for it. This team has shown more resilience than last year's team and the wins should start coming in soon as the schedule lightens up slightly. Next, Georgia Tech heads home to McCamish Pavilion to face off against Virginia Tech on Saturday at Noon