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Georgia Tech stuns No. 14 Notre Dame at buzzer

By Stan Awtrey, The Sports Xchange

ATLANTA -- Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner has preached all season about the importance of rebounding at the guard position. On Saturday, the Yellow Jackets saw why.

Guard Tadric Jackson rebounded a missed shot in the final seconds and got the ball to Josh Okogie, who drove for the winning basket as time expired to give Georgia Tech a 62-60 upset win over No. 14 Notre Dame before a sellout crowd at McCamish Pavilion.

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"Coach is always on us about guard rebounding," Jackson said. "I looked up at the clock and saw I had time and I looked over and saw Josh O breaking so hard."

Okogie, who had missed two free throws with less than a minute to play, caught the pass on the right side of the court and broke hard to the basket. He laid in the winning shot as the horn sounded.

"For Tadric's awareness to see the time and Josh's speed and burst," Pastner said. "That burst Josh O had to have to get to the basket was like Usain Bolt."

Okogie had a chance to break a 60-60 tie with 35.8 seconds left, but missed both and gave Notre Dame a chance to win.

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Notre Dame guard Matt Farrell dribbled out most of the time on the clock before driving to the basket and missing a short jumper. The rebound was grabbed by Jackson, who took a couple of dribbles before firing a bullet pass across the court to Okogie, who laid it up and watched it drop through as the horn sounded.

"That's what we wanted at the end," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "They really hugged our shooters, so he had to shoot a floater. It wasn't a great shot, but it's one he hits. You like that he had the gumption to take it."

It was the second straight win over a ranked team for Georgia Tech (13-8, 5-4 ACC). Notre Dame (17-5, 6-3) lost its second straight and has dropped three of its last four.

"We've had our share of thrillers in this building since we've been in the ACC," Brey said. "You've got to give Georgia Tech a lot of credit. They made the last great play. Our defensive balance wasn't very good and they made a great play."

Okogie, who scored 35 in the upset over Florida State, scored only eight points.

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Georgia Tech was led by Jackson, who was 11-for-19 from the field, three of them on 3-pointers, and scored 25 points. Center Ben Lammers played 40 minutes and had 15 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in earning his 11th double-double.

Notre Dame was led by V.J. Beachem, who made 10 of 16 from the floor and scored 23 points. Farrell scored 15 points and Bonzie Colson had 13 points and 13 rebounds.

Steve Vasturia was limited to only one basket and five points, his second-worst offensive game of the season. He had scored in double figures in nine straight games.

Notre Dame got off to a fast start and used a 10-0 run to take a 19-10 lead with 11:47 left in the first half.

"We were low energy to start the game, which is a credit to Notre Dame," Pastner said. "To be down like we were down and fight back to get the lead against that kind of team in the first half says a lot about our guys."

Georgia Tech got back in the game when Jackson got hot and scored nine points of his 14 first-half points in a 13-4 run that closed the gap to 23-22 at 6:27.

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The Yellow Jackets took the lead minutes later thanks to an 11-0 spurt that put them ahead 33-25 at 2:24. Georgia Tech led 35-31 at halftime.

Notre Dame quickly erased the deficit in the opening minutes of the second half and took a 40-38 lead on a three-point play by Colson.

Georgia Tech scored six straight to take a 48-42 lead on a Lammers jumper with 11:53 and the Fighting Irish didn't pull even again until Beachem's field goal tied the score at 60-60 with 2:38 remaining.

"It was hard for us to get into an offensive rhythm because you couldn't get anything around the basket because of Lammers and (Quinton) Stephens," Brey said. "We worked like heck to get 60 points today. Obviously, Jackson was fabulous and we had no answer for him."

NOTES:

-- Georgia Tech has two straight wins over Notre Dame and leads the series 10-6.

-- Georgia Tech students received a Jarrett Jack replica jersey when they entered the arena. Jack helped take the team to the NCAA final in 2003-04 and played 11 seasons in the NBA. He received a standing ovation when introduced during a first-half break.

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-- Georgia Tech plays again on Wednesday at Clemson. Notre Dame hosts Duke on Monday.

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