ATLANTA — Daniel Miller has to face Garrick Sherman again, so the Georgia Tech center doesn’t want to say exactly what worked against his Notre Dame counterpart.
“We did a lot of drills guarding him, watched a lot of film with his moves, so that was really important for us to just kind of shut him out,” Miller said. “They need him to be successful.”
Trae Golden scored 20 points, Miller added 10 points and 13 rebounds and Georgia Tech beat Notre Dame 74-69 on Saturday.
Despite blowing a 15-point lead they held midway through the second half, the Yellow Jackets (10-6, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) went ahead for good when Golden’s 3-pointer from the left wing made it 70-68 in the final minute.
Golden gave Georgia Tech its biggest lead at 15, but the Irish went on a 16-3 run to tie the game at 57 on Atkins’ three-point play.
Notre Dame (10-6, 1-2), playing its first ACC road game after spending the last 18 seasons in the Big East Conference, was led by Eric Atkins’ 20 points and Garrick Sherman’s 13.
Sherman missed his first nine field goal attempts, but hit six of his last nine shots, including a reverse layup to give the Irish a 68-67 lead with 1:15 remaining.
The rough start frustrated Sherman, who began the day as the Irish’s scoring leader but didn’t hit a field goal until the 13:14 mark of the second half.
“They weren’t awful shots,” Sherman said. “It was a couple of forced ones, but shots I usually make weren’t going in. I just had to flush the first half and come back and play the second half.”
Georgia Tech began the game with a 10-26 ACC record under third-year coach Brian Gregory, but the Jackets led by as much as 13 in the first half on Marcus Georges-Hunt’s 3 from the left key.
Notre Dame came within two in the first on Demetrius Jackson’s layup at the 8:01 mark and on Steve Vasturia’s with 1:17 remaining, but Golden hit a pair of free throws to make it a four-point lead at intermission.
The Irish, playing just their second away game of the season on an opponent’s home court, trailed by 15 midway through the second half on Golden’s runner from the baseline at the 13:59 mark.
Chris Bolden hit a 3 from the left side on the ensuing possession, and Quinton Stephens’ jumper from the top of the key made it 62-57 at the 5:40 mark.
Notre Dame, which began its ACC era with a win over then-No. 7 Duke last week, was coming off a seven-point loss to North Carolina State.
The Irish didn’t take their first lead of the game until Pat Connaughton’s jumper made it 64-62 with 3:56 remaining.
Notre Dame coach Mike Brey thought his team played hard, but was undone by poor starts in both halves.
“When you’re digging out of those holes,” Brey said, “it’s exhausting and sometimes you almost don’t deserve to win the game because how of you started the game and how you started the half.”
Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory was pleased with how well Miller defended Sherman. The Jackets will need a similar performance to improve their chances of winning at Notre Dame late next month.
“Garrick is a little more offensively aggressive and I think Daniel might have an overall better feel on the defensive side of the ball,” Gregory said. “Those are two fifth-year guys that have made themselves into great players. That was a good battle.”