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Notre Dame Basketball

Notre Dame Survives Georgia Tech 73-72 in OT

January 10, 2023

Notre Dame trailed 63-56 to Georgia Tech with 3:36 left in the game on Tuesday night. The Yellow Jackets were fresh off another 8-2 run and Cormac Ryan had enough. 

The fifth-year senior lit into the Notre Dame bench and whatever he said worked as the Fighting Irish won 73-72 in overtime to earn win No. 1 in ACC play after dropping the first five games in conference play. 

Dane Goodwin led the Irish with 19 points and 12 rebounds on the night and admitted Ryan’s intense message hit home. 

“Down the stretch, we kind of just came together,” stated Goodwin. “We were down seven and Cormac kind of lit a fire under us and that certainly helped. We’re never going to go down not swinging. We’re always going to have that fight. Sometimes you’re in position to pull it out and tonight we were. We made big stops on the defensive end and made some big shots as well.” 

While the message clearly worked, Goodwin didn’t share what was said. 

“He got into us,” Goodwin said. “It happens. That’s what a veteran leader should do. I think we responded well and we responded how we should have.” 

To get to overtime, Notre Dame needed a three-point play from freshman guard JJ Starling and a corner three from Trey Wertz to tie the game with 53 seconds to play. 

Wertz finished the night with just six points, but the Charlotte native hit another big three in overtime to put the Irish up 71-70 with under a minute to play. 

Yet it was Starling that kept Notre Dame in the game as he scored 16 points and pulled down three rebounds to go with three assists on the night. 

“I thought JJ played old tonight,” explained Brey. “I thought he joined those old guys, especially the second half and the overtime. He was defending and moving. He had some great drives. I thought he was old tonight.” 

Georgia Tech was led by Kyle Sturdivant with 18 points and the Yellow Jackets out-rebounded Notre Dame 42-33, but the Irish didn’t give up and grinded out a gritty win at home, which could provide a much-needed spark.

“I think it helps us,” stated Brey. “Maybe we play better when we’re completely up against the wall like that instead of maybe having a lead or something. I don’t know. We were looking for confidence. To go in and just be able to celebrate a league win - and have to really work to get it.” 

Brey is known for tinkering his starting lineup to find ‘good karma’ and it started last weekend as Marcus Hammond entered the starting lineup. On Tuesday, Brey replaced arguably his best player in the starting lineup as Starling became Notre Dame’s sixth man. 

“You’ve heard me say it before. We changed the lineup sometimes just to change the karma and maybe help a guy or do something different. He will start in his hometown on Saturday and we started him in the second half. We just needed to change something up. He handled it like a man even though it’s new territory for him.” 

How rare was it for Starling not to start a game? Well, Tuesday was the first time in his career that Starling came off the bench. 

“I’ve never not started,” said Starling. “It wasn’t much of an adjustment. It was actually good. I got to watch what was going on before I went in. I just made sure I had that same energy. It wasn’t about me or an individual thing. I had to cheer on my teammates and make sure I had to come in ready to play.” 

Notre Dame will head to Syracuse on Saturday for a 7:00 PM ET tip on ACC Network. The Orange won the matchup in December 62-61. 

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