On a cold night in Indiana, Georgia Tech didn’t have enough in the tank.
The Yellow Jackets, on their inaugural visit to Notre Dame as fellow ACC members, pushed the Fighting Irish in the second half Wednesday night, but couldn’t complete the deal in a 65-62 loss at the Joyce Center.
Down by as many as nine points early, the Jackets closed to one with 5:45 to play and then again with 1:09 left, but Notre Dame’s clutch shot-making enabled the Irish to hold off the Jackets.
Tech (13-15 overall, 4-11 ACC) has its first three-game losing streak of the season, with trips coming to Florida State and No. 4 Syracuse.
Notre Dame (15-14, 6-10) earned a season split with the Jackets. The Irish were led by center Garrick Sherman, who scored 21 points.
The Irish took a 33-31 lead into halftime and didn’t trail the rest of the game. A 12-3 Notre Dame run early in the second half gave the Irish a 47-38 lead with 13:53 left and control of the game.
Forward Marcus Georges-Hunt and guard Chris Bolden led the counterattack. Georges-Hunt contributed four free throws, two after a steal on the perimeter, and Bolden made back-to-back 3-pointers to bring the Jackets to a 53-50 deficit with 9:59 to go.
Making his first start since returning from a torn meniscus, Robert Carter struck again late, making back-to-back 3-pointers at the 1:57 and 1:09 marks to bring Tech to within one at 63-62. However, the Irish sealed the game with free throws.
Tech had one final possession to tie the score with 20.1 seconds to play, trailing 65-62. Coming out of a timeout, coach Brian Gregory drew a play to spring Carter for a 3-pointer from the right wing, which was short. Bolden won an offensive rebound and fed Carter, who missed again as time expired. Carter finished with a team-high 19 points on 16 shots and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.
The Jackets and Irish have been paired as primary partners (Tech’s other is Clemson), meaning they will play twice annually. On Monday, Gregory, who grew up outside of Chicago with a steady diet of Notre Dame basketball and was supported at the game by several friends and family members, suggested that the series “can turn into something pretty special.”
It was the 10th meeting between the two teams, and the first in South Bend since 1990.