Down as many as 10 points in the second half, Georgia Tech had a chance to possibly send the game to overtime in the final minute. However, a miscommunication derailed the Yellow Jackets’ comeback try.
After guard Tadric Jackson hit a clutch 3-pointer with 47 seconds left to cut Notre Dame’s lead to 61-58, Tech had a chance to get the ball back with the potential to tie the game with a defensive stop of the Irish. However, instead of trying to induce a miss or a turnover, Jackson intentionally fouled Notre Dame guard Matt Farrell with 30 seconds left. Farrell made one of two free throws, dropping the Jackets into a four-point deficit at 62-58 and complicating the comeback effort.
After the game, coach Josh Pastner said that the plan was to try to get a stop and not foul.
“We didn’t want to foul,” Pastner said. “We didn’t have any timeouts, we were telling them not to foul, but he fouled. And I’m not made at Tadric – I was at the time. That’s part of growing and learning and hopefully he’s in that position again, but we did not want to foul.”
After Farrell made his one free throw with 30 seconds left for the four-point lead, Jackson and guard Josh Heath both missed jump shots, leaving only three seconds when Heath scored on a jumper in the lane to cut the lead to two. Tech then had to foul, and Farrell hit both free throws to put the game away.
Jackson had plenty to do with Tech remaining alive with under a minute to play. He scored a team-high 20 points, including 16 in the second half, which was half of the team’s scoring output in the final 20 minutes. The Jackets were down 60-50 with 1:24 to play, but Jackson hit a 3-pointer eight seconds later and scored on a layup after to cut the lead to 60-55 with 1:03 left.
He made his final 3-pointer after a Notre Dame free throw extended the lead to 61-55 with 54 seconds left.
It was reminiscent of his finishing run in the failed comeback effort against N.C. State this past Tuesday, when he scored nine points in the final 2:13 to help cut the Wolfpack’s 13-point lead to one point.