Has the shield officially lost its mojo?
The Georgia Tech Mens Basketball team met the Fighting Irish at McCamish Pavilion on Saturday night in need of a conference win.
Georgia Tech named Michael Devoe, Jordan Usher, Khalid Moore, Jordan Meka, Kyle Sturdivant its starters for Saturday’s matchup. Keeping a full bench has remained a struggle as Bubba Parham missed another game, along with Rodney Howard.
Both offenses got off to slow start, with the Jackets leading 5-2 at the first media timeout. The Tech defense had held ND to 13% (1/8) shooting from the field in that opening sequence.
Deebo Coleman came into the game and quickly hit a three pointer to spark a small jolt of offensive production for the Jackets. A sneaky bounce pass in the lane from Saba to Devoe and a turnaround fadeaway by Tristan Maxwell helped extend the Tech lead to 8 with about ten minutes left in the first half.
Another offensive slump then allowed Notre Dame to bring the lead within one point, mostly thanks to them consistently creating high percentage opportunities down low. In the first half, Tech lost the turnover battle (yet again), but fortunately won the boards 24-15 to take a 35-29 lead into the locker room. Both teams shot just over 40% in what appeared to be a game that could go either way.
The beginning of the second half was exactly that, as Notre Dame tied the game with at 41 with 15:10 left. They would take their first lead of the game shortly after on an easy dunk off a baseline cut, and for the first time made it feel like they had full control of the game. Before a made three by Michael Devoe, the Georgia Tech offense only scored 6 points in the first eight minutes of the second half.
The back-and-forth matchup continued, and a stubborn Tech defense mixed with a few timely baskets by Jordan Usher kept the game close with 6:39 remaining. Notre Dame led 53-51. Over the next three minutes, the Jackets fought to take a 1-point lead.
The lead exchanged hands a few times after that, but a tough and-one conversion by Devoe and consistent free throw shooting put the Jackets ahead by 4 with 1:41 left in the game. The next minute did not go in Tech’s favor. Notre Dame went on a 5-0 run and forced Pastner to take a timeout with 46 seconds left. After a foul, a split performance at the line by Deebo Coleman tied the game at 62. Notre Dame guard Prentiss Hubb missed a jumper from the free throw line, and the game was even at the end of regulation.
The opening minutes of overtime remained neck-and-neck, and what appeared to be a missed offensive foul call not only led to a wide open three pointer for Notre Dame, but also the game’s first shield removal by Coach Pastner. With a minute remaining, Tech needed to overcome their own inconsistent offense and a six-point deficit. Devoe made a basket, and after a missed ND free throw, the Jackets squandered away its last realistic shot at winning the game. The good guys failed to bring the game even at any point as Notre Dame dealt Tech its fourth ACC loss of the season.
Devoe was the leading scorer for Tech again with 20 points. Outside of the players mentioned earlier, Deivon Smith and Miles Kelly also saw noteworthy playing time, and the youth of this team continues to show promise.
Hopefully that promise translates to more wins in the near future. Conference play resumes on Wednesday 1/12 as the Jackets face Boston College on the road.
Until next time. Go Jackets!