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Notre Dame Basketball

Another Thriller in Atlanta, Notre Dame Falls 70-68

February 8, 2023

History said Wednesday’s clash between Notre Dame (10-14, 2-11) and Georgia Tech (9-15, 2-12) would come down to the final possession and it did as Lance Terry scored at the buzzer to give the Yellow Jackets a 70-68 victory. 

In a game where small runs dominated the night, Terry came through with nine points in the second half on his way to finishing with a game-high 19 points. 

“You give credit to Coach (Josh) Pastner and his boys played very hard,” Notre Dame assistant coach Hamlet Tibbs stated. “I know they were hungry for a win. It was a back-and-forth game. It was similar to the first game we played and came down to the last possession. We had to get a stop at the end in the first game. We got a stop and took it into overtime and were able to win it. 

“This time around, we just came up short and couldn’t get that rebound and they won the game.” 

Tibbs, who spoke postgame instead of head coach Mike Brey, wasn’t wrong as it was a night with 13 ties and 11 lead changes. The biggest lead of the game was just seven points by Georgia Tech. 

For Notre Dame, it was much of the same issues they’ve battled all year as defensive stops and hitting timely shots were non-existent down the stretch. The Irish used a 10-0 run to take a 60-54 lead with 7:59 seconds to play, but Brey’s team would only score eight more points from there and go without a field goal over the last 2:44. 

Notre Dame freshman guard JJ Starling didn’t get the start as he was dealing with the flu and only played 12 minutes, which led to classmate Ven-Allen Lubin getting the starting nod in his return after missing the last two games. 

Lubin responded with 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting while pulling down seven boards, but he was limited to 22 minutes as he picked up three first half fouls and added his fourth foul with 11:39 remaining in the game. 

“I thought he was going to be a difference maker for us in this game,” said Tibbs. “With him being available, his presence on the glass and his defense and his physicality, I thought he was going to be a difference maker for us. It’s something we didn’t have in the first game when we gave up 14 offensive rebounds. I felt we did a really good job when he was in the lineup with Nate (Laszewski) in there with him. He was really effective tonight.” 

The Notre Dame bigs were the bright spot for the Irish as Laszewski finished with a team-high 16 points and two rebounds.  Yet, Georgia Tech still won the rebounding battle by four, including 8-5 on the offensive glass, which proved to be big as Terry’s tip-in at the buzzer came off a miss. 

Notre Dame did have its chance to escape Atlanta with a win as the game was tied at 68 with 1:55 left. Cormac Ryan, who finished 13 points, five rebounds and three assists, couldn’t get a layup to fall with 54 seconds left and then Laszewski missed a mid-range jumper with 26 seconds left to play. 

“I thought we had some pretty good looks,” Tibbs said. “C-Mac (Cormac Ryan) had a nice drive to the rim there and got it up on the backboard, but it just didn’t go in. The next possession, Nate worked his way into the paint and I thought he had a pretty decent look over a smaller defender, but it just didn’t drop. They were able to come down and score the game-winning field goal.” 

Notre Dame will return to Purcell Pavilion on Saturday for a 2:00 PM ET tip against Virginia Tech. (14-10, 4-9). The Hokies fell at home on Wednesday night 82-76 to Boston College.

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Another Thriller in Atlanta, Notre Dame Falls 70-68

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