Georgia Tech gets sweet revenge in against Notre Dame in The Thrillerdome
By D’Mitri Chin
ATLANTA — After losing by nine points against Notre Dame on Dec. 30, 2017, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets evened the season series against the Fighting Irish with a 60-53 win on Wednesday night. The Yellow Jackets are buzzing, as they are currently on a three-game winning streak and find themselves in a three-way tie for sixth place in the ACC.
McCamish Pavillion was rocking all night, and head coach Josh Pastner credited the students and fans for rallying behind the players and creating a hostile environment.
“Really good win for the Yellow Jackets. Great crowd. I just want to really give a great shout-out to our crowd and to our student section,” Pastner said about the energy the crowd provided for his team. “I was really proud for our fans and for our students. You always want to have a good win when they come out to support and give good energy in the building. Overall, I thought we played with really good energy, which, again, the crowd was really good for us in that.”
The Yellow Jackets played with high intensity on both sides of the floor in their win against Notre Dame. From analyzing the match, here is what I observed:
The exceptional play of the Jackets’ big three
Ben Lammers, Josh Okogie and Tadric Jackson had phenomenal performances both offensively and defensively for Tech. Lammers had 10 points and 10 rebounds, which was his sixth double-double of the season and 22nd of his collegiate career. He made big shots down the stretch and was extremely active defensively. Lammers did not have his best performance offensively, but he had two blocks, two steals and had many pass deflections.
“I thought his activity with his hands was terrific,” Pastner said. “We talk about that: high hands. That’s an area that we’ve improved on.”
Okogie had 17 points four rebounds and five assists to go along with two blocks of his own. He was the most efficient player for the Yellow Jackets offensively, and with Tech only shooting six free throws in the game, he led the team in that category shooting 4-5 from the charity stripe. Jackson, a player that Pastner feels, is much more productive coming off the bench, played 28 minutes against the Fighting Irish and was very active on the boards. Jackson scored 11 points but more impressively tied his career high with nine rebounds.
The Yellow Jackets swarmed on defense Pastner could not have asked for a better performance from his team defensively than how his team put the clamps on Notre Dame for 40 minutes.
“We played multiple defenses. I’ve said that the way we kind of are offensively and defensively, I think we’re unconventional, and we’re different than anyone else in the league,” Pastner said. That doesn’t always guarantee anything, but you are a different scout and defense than other teams have to face because we do different things.”
One thing is for sure, Notre Dame’s head coach Mike Brey apparently didn’t have an answer for Tech’s stifling defense. At the end of the first half, Tech limited Notre Dame to just 26 percent shooting from the floor and held them to 58 percent at the end of regulation.
What this means
For Georgia Tech, their win streak is currently at three, and they find themselves in a good position in a competitive ACC conference. However, they must play with this same ferocity as they travel to face a Pitt team that is 0-4 in the ACC and could very well be considered a trap game for the Yellow Jackets. If they can find a way to win this game on the road, Tech will be high on momentum at home on when they face Virginia (Jan. 18) who is currently ranked No. 3 in the country.
Pastner alluded to the fact that his team is finally in sync with one another, and they are playing their best basketball. He also mentioned that his team is not the most talented in the conference, so they must remain disciplined throughout the season, and, most importantly, get better with every practice.
“We’ve gotten better since post-Christmas and part of that is we got healthy and have been able to practice. We’ve been going two-a-days. On Monday, school was canceled so we went twice because the more we can do two-a-days – and we won’t be able to anymore because school is back in session – but that really allowed us to get better. It’s just that we were able to get healthy and get back in rhythm and we’ve improved.”
All Photos By: Dennis Morton Jr.