The University of Notre Dame men’s basketball team (14-17) exploded for 52 points in the first half, then held off a Georgia Tech (14-18) rally to take down the No. 10 seed in the 2019 ACC Championship at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina on Tuesday afternoon.
The No. 15-seeded Irish will move on to face No. 7 Louisville at 7:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday night.
Junior John Mooney led the Irish with 20 points and 10 rebounds, earning his 20th double-double of the season. The third-team All-ACC selection hit the key shot in the game when he connected on a mid-range jumper with 41 seconds remaining, ending a Georgia Tech run and pushing the Irish ahead to stay.
Freshman Dane Goodwin added 15 points and five rebounds, while classmate Nate Laszewski scored 14 points in the first half before leaving just before the break with a lower-back injury.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Georgia Tech scored the first four points of the game before a Goodwin jumper, followed by a three from the rookie cut the Georgia Tech lead to 9-7 at the first break.
The freshman duo of Goodwin and Laszewski powered the Irish early, as Goodwin scored seven points and Laszewski added six to build a 20-15 lead and force a Georgia Tech timeout with 11:55 left in the first half.
The lead would build to 30-21 with 7:59 remaining with the Irish hitting seven of nine shots and receiving a shot in the arm from Juwan Durham off the bench. The junior big man recorded two blocks, two dunks and two rebounds in his first few minutes of action in the game.
Late in the first half, Laszewski was fouled hard on a drive to the basket and forced to the locker room with with a lower back bruise. Precautionary x-rays were negative, but the Jupiter, Florida, native did not return to the game. His status for the second round game will be a game-time decision tomorrow.
Utilizing a 13-3 run, the Irish built a 20-point lead at halftime, heading into the break up 52-32.
With the Irish down to just six scholarship players available, Georgia Tech eventually made a 6-0 run to cut the lead to nine with over five minutes remaining. A pair of Mooney buckets kept Notre Dame in front until a Yellow Jacket three pointer with 1:56 remaining cut the ND lead to six at 72-66.
The lead eventually was shaved to three points, but Mooney’s big jump shot with 41 seconds remaining sealed the game for the Irish.
NOTRE DAME PLAYER OF THE GAME
- Junior forward John Mooney led the team with 20 points and 10 rebounds, shooting nine-for-17 from the field and two-for-three from three-point range.
NOTRE DAME STATS OF THE GAME
Notre Dame becomes the first 15 seed to win a game at the ACC Championship. There have been four tournaments when only 14 teams competed due to post season bans since the lead expanded.
The 52 points scored in the first half were the sixth-most in ACC Championship history for a game’s first 20 minutes.
Mooney’s 20 points and 10 rebounds give him his 20th double-double of the season – the sixth Notre Dame player to reach 20 double-doubles in a single season. It also is the fifth 20-10 game of the season for the Orlando, Florida, native.
Juwan Durham turned in his best performance since he missed five of six games with a sprained ankle earlier this year, scoring 12 points with five rebounds and four blocked shots.
The backcourt duo of Prentiss Hubb and T.J. Gibbs played all 40 minutes, combining for 10 assists against just three turnovers (Georgia Tech was in a full-court press for much of the second half) and adding two steals.
Notre Dame will face Louisville in the first game of the evening session on Wednesday evening, with tip off slated for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.