ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Tech keeps defying expectations in its first season under coach Josh Pastner.
Already steeled with Top 10 wins over North Carolina and Florida State, the Yellow Jackets added No. 14 Notre Dame to a resume that’s looking more impressive each week.
“Teams come in here that are Top 10, Top 25, but we don’t look at that,” guard Tadric Jackson said. “We just look at team matchups and play with more energy than our opponent.”
Josh Okogie made a fast-break layup as time expired, Jackson had a career-high 25 points and Georgia Tech earned another surprising victory over a ranked opponent, beating No. 14 Notre Dame 62-60 on Saturday.
The Yellow Jackets (13-8, 5-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) erased an early 10-point deficit with a 24-6 run and led by four points at halftime. With a roster that Pastner calls the least experienced in the nation, Georgia Tech never trailed after Ben Lammers’ layup made it 40-all with 15:41 remaining.
Notre Dame’s Matt Farrell went up for a short jumper but missed off the rim with 7 seconds remaining. Jackson grabbed the rebound, tossed the ball upcourt to a streaking Okogie, and McCamish Pavilion erupted in cheers.
Ben Lammers, the only player on either team to play the entire game, had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Georgia Tech.
“He’s a really gifted, gifted young man,” Fighting Irish coach Mike Brey said. “What did he have? Three blocks? It felt like he had 10 blocks. He changed another 10 (shots).”
V.J. Beachem finished with 23 points and hit a 3-pointer that made it 60-all with 2:45 remaining for Notre Dame (17-5, 6-3). He and Farrell both missed 3s in the closing minutes.
“We usually make plays down the stretch,” Beachem said. “Today the other team made them.”
Bonzie Colson had 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Irish.
Okogie, who missed a pair of free throws with 35.8 seconds remaining, finished with nine points after scoring 35 in Wednesday’s upset of No. 6 Florida State.
His game-winning shot unfolded quickly. As soon as Jackson came down with the rebound, he saw Okogie streaking toward the basket on the other end.
“To be honest, all I could see was his upper body,” Jackson said. “I couldn’t see his legs he was running so fast.”
Notre Dame: The Irish got off to a 5-0 ACC start with an average margin of victory of 4.6 points, but they’ve dropped two straight by just five total points. “When we won those five games to start league play, every one of them was like this, only we stole them,” Brey said. “They got it today. They deserved it today. They played better longer.”… G Steve Vasturia had his second-least productive game of the season, scoring five points on 1-of-7 shooting. “It’s probably the poorest Steve has played in two years,” Brey said. “We certainly aren’t going to beat many people without Steve not playing well.”… Notre Dame was ranked No. 19 last year when it lost at McCamish Pavilion on Marcus Georges-Hunt’s short jumper with 2 seconds remaining.
Georgia Tech: Showing they can win in a variety of different ways, the Jackets blew out Florida State for their largest ACC margin of victory since 2011 before holding their own in a tight possession game against Notre Dame. … Quinton Stephens pulled down 13 rebounds, but he went just 1 of 6 on 3s. … G Josh Heath had nine points, eight assists and five steals. … Pastner values G Corey Heyward as a defender. Heyward played 38 minutes, took two shots and didn’t score. … Most of the sellout crowd of 8,600 cheered for the Jackets. That’s usually not the case when marquee ACC opponents like North Carolina, Duke and Louisville visit Atlanta.
Notre Dame: Hosts No. 17 Duke on Monday.
Georgia Tech: Visits Clemson on Wednesday.