The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets paid a visit to Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center in South Bend on Sunday evening, looking for a road win to boost their NCAA tournament resume. Prior to Sunday night’s game, the Yellow Jackets were projected as a “last four in” team by ESPN and Joe Lunardi.
The Irish, on the other hand, are looking to finish the season strong and secure a top-four finish in the ACC and a double bye in the tournament. With three games left in the season, Notre Dame sat 2.5 games back from ACC leader North Carolina with a 10-5 ACC record. The Irish were 21-7 overall.
Coming off eight days of rest and looking to avenge a two-point loss in Atlanta to Georgia Tech earlier in the season, the Irish looked fresh early on. Rex Pflueger got the start again in place of Martin Geben, who didn’t see the floor at all.
Despite a hot start, the Notre Dame offense would go cold late in the first half, with a lot of shots simply not falling. Luckily for the Irish, Georgia Tech turned it over nine times in the first half, and Notre Dame was able to take a six point lead into the locker room at half time. Bonzie Colson had 12 point and six rebounds in the first half; Pflueger, Vasturia and Beachem each had five.
In the second half, the Irish kept Georgia Tech at arms length but never managed to really pull away. Much like in the first half, shots refused to fall, and Josh Okogie showed why he’s one of the best freshman in the ACC.
Despite having a 10-point lead with just over a minute left, the Irish found themselves up by only four with 18 seconds left, mostly due to missed free throws. Tech made a bucket with 4.4 seconds left, and then a foul put Matt Farrell at the line with 3.2 seconds left. Farrell drained both, essentially icing the game, and Notre Dame escaped with a 64-60 win.
Colson had yet another monster game and his 17th double double of the season, finishing with 20 points and 11 rebounds. He also effectively bothered Ben Lammers defensively, who finished with only 11 points on four of 11 shooting.
The Irish will face Boston College at home before traveling to Louisville for the season finale on March 4th.