It was a great game, and then it wasn’t
Well that was a thing that happened.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball team dropped just it’s second game in their last six tonight. They went into McCamish Pavilion to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, but they are leaving Atlanta with an 82-80 loss. This loss puts the Irish at 7-10 on the season with a 4-7 ACC record. The Irish had previously won 4 of their last 5 in ACC play after losing their first five conference games. They did not continue their streak after drubbing Pitt and Wake Forest of easily handling opponents.
The Irish came out swinging in the first half. It seemed like they couldn’t miss anything. They shot 66% from the field, only missing 1 free throw and hitting 46% of their three pointers. They started off the game absolutely red hot, hitting 9 of their first 15 from the field. Juwan Durham went almost the whole half without missing a shot, going 6-6 to start the game. Nate Laszewski was on fire, and Hubb was hitting his stride, too. After Georgia Tech struggled, they were picking up the pace, too. They started 0-7 from the field, but quickly hit 13-18 of their next shots in the latter part of the first half. The Irish were just too much, though, leading 50-35 at half.
Then, at halftime, I think Georgia Tech remembered that they were playing at home. They rattled off 5 straight field goals of their own to start the half, cutting the Irish lead down to 52-47 just 2:30 into the half. They went on a tear, forcing the Irish to call a timeout. The Irish settled some things down, but it was more back-and-forth the rest of the way. GT continued to play the half with their hair on fire, and they wouldn’t let up.
With Georgia Tech hitting so many shots, they persisted and ended up leading 82-79 with a little over a minute left. They fouled Irish shooters twice on back-to-back possesions. With 1-and-1s coming, both Prentiss Hubb and Cormac Ryan mustered one FT make on 3 shots in those 1-and-1 situations. GT tried to bleed out the clock with the ND timeouts all gone. There was a block by the Irish, but there was confusion from Hubb and Ryan on the final possession. No shot to tie or win was even made, and the final score stood at 82-80. Georgia Tech stormed back to get a home victory. The Irish absolutely choked away a commanding lead on the road, something most teams don’t get even a whiff of in ACC play.
Even with Nate Laszewski shooting 11-13 and 27 points, Juwan Durham going 9-9 with 18 points, and Prentiss Hubb with 15 points, the Irish squandered away a victory in a frustrating manner. Trey Wertz started the game, but had no points in the whole game. The coaching staff realized he was struggling early on in the game. What was looking like a fun and competitive stretch this season has now turned into some confusion after a loss.