VIDEO: Josh Okogie’s buzzer-beating layup lifts Georgia Tech over No. 14 Notre Dame

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Freshman Josh Okogie made the game-winning layup at the buzzer as Georgia Tech stunned another ranked ACC opponent with a 62-60 home win over No. 14 Notre Dame on Saturday.

The Yellow Jackets (13-8, 5-4) have now picked off North Carolina, Clemson, Florida State and Notre Dame at home during ACC play as they’ve become a legitimate NCAA tournament contender in head coach Josh Pastner’s first season.

Okogie struggled to find his rhythm offensively and only finished with eight points, but he came through when Georgia Tech needed him the most as the Yellow Jackets continue to be a really tough out at home.

Georgia Tech was led by 25 points from guard Tadric Jackson while junior big man Ben Lammers added a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Notre Dame (17-5, 6-3) had a strong game from senior V.J. Beachem as he paced the Irish with 25 points — hitting multiple clutch three-pointers to help put Notre Dame back in the game. The Irish also had solid outings from Bonzie Colson (13 points, 13 rebounds) and Matt Farrell (15 points) but the rest of the team struggled to a 2-for-17 performance from the field.

This win will certainly put Georgia Tech in the NCAA tournament conversation now that they’ve earned three quality wins over ranked opponents in ACC play. There is still work to be done for the Yellow Jackets to make the big dance, but Pastner has to be considered the runaway ACC Coach of the Year and a major candidate to be national Coach of the Year.

Beachem’s career day leads No. 15 Irish over Syracuse

SOUTH BEND, IN - JANUARY 21: Tyler Lydon #20 of the Syracuse Orange holds the ball as V.J. Beachem #3 and Rex Pflueger #0 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish defend at Purcell Pavilion on January 21, 2017 in South Bend, Indiana.  (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) When V.J. Beachem gets to the rim, opportunities open up for him and No. 15 Notre Dame.

Midway through the first half Saturday against Syracuse, Beachem streaked along the baseline and threw down a thunderous two-handed dunk. Next trip down the court, there was Beachem again with another flush off a nifty behind-the-back pass from Matt Farrell.

Beachem decided to take it outside from there, banging home consecutive 3-pointers in a personal 10-2 run that broke things open for the Irish in an 84-66 victory over the Orange.

Beachem finished with a career-high 30 points for Notre Dame which snapped a four-game losing streak against Syracuse.

“The drive really opens up the outside shot for me,” Beachem said. “When you can get into the middle of the lane and make everybody look and collapse, that’s when the outside really opens up.”

Farrell added 15 points and nine assists for the Irish, who were coming off a three-point loss at No. 10 Florida State that stopped a seven-game winning streak.

“V.J. was fabulous,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “When we can get him flowing like that, it’s a confidence-giver to his teammates.”

On an unseasonably warm January day for Northern Indiana, with temperatures in the 50s, Notre Dame (17-3, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) was hot from outside, hitting 11 3-pointers against the Syracuse zone.

“We were really anxious to play against (the zone),” Beachem said. “The way we play offensively, we felt like we’d be fine against it.”

Beachem tied his career high with six 3s and added seven rebounds. He finished 12 of 22 from the field and his point total was the most by an Irish player since Bonzie Colson had 31 against Duke last season.

“Beachem, we just couldn’t get to him,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “He’s a tremendous shooter and we just didn’t get to him.”

Despite sitting much of the first half with foul trouble, Colson still finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds for his 12th double-double of the season. Steve Vasturia added 11 points.

Tyler Lydon had 24 points and 10 rebounds for Syracuse (11-9, 3-4). Tyus Battle added 17 points and Andrew White III had 16.

“We can’t win with just three guys against anybody,” Boeheim said. “We have to have more guys. I can’t even describe how disappointed I am in a couple guys on our team.”

After being outrebounded by 20 in a loss to North Carolina on Monday, the Orange were again beaten on the boards, 39-28. Syracuse also struggled from deep, going just 6 of 19 from 3-point range.

“I think our defense was really the key today,” Brey said.

Notre Dame took a 16-point lead early in the second half with a 9-0 run and led by double digits the rest of the way. Rex Pflueger’s 3 with just over 4 minutes left gave the Irish their largest lead of 22 points.


Syracuse: The Orange are 0-5 on the road and have yet to beat a ranked team, after being ranked as high as No. 16 earlier in the season.

Notre Dame: The Irish have yet to lose consecutive games this season and figured out a response after dropping their first ACC game on Wednesday.


Former All-America guard David Rivers was inducted into Notre Dame’s ring of honor at halftime. Rivers, who played from 1984-88, scored over 2,000 points in his career and was a first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1988.

Rivers, who comes from a family of 15 children in Jersey City, NJ, nearly died in a car accident in 1986, but came back and averaged 22 points per game in his final season at Notre Dame.

Former Notre Dame coach Digger Phelps has called Rivers the best player he’s ever coached.

“When I hear that, it’s humbling,” Rivers said before Saturday’s game. “I take it as one of the greatest compliments I could ever receive, and I just move on, because I’m familiar with some of these names that are up there (in the ring of honor) already. It’s just awesome company.”


Following a close loss at No. 10 Florida State on Wednesday, the Irish don’t figure to slide much after keeping pace with the ACC’s top teams.


Syracuse: The Orange return home for two, starting with Wake Forest on Tuesday before No. 10 Florida State visits on Saturday.

Notre Dame: The Irish host three of their next four, beginning with No. 16 Virginia on Tuesday.

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No. 23 Notre Dame outlasts No. 9 Louisville

SOUTH BEND, IN - JANUARY 04: Rex Pflueger #0 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Louisville Cardinals battle for the loose ball at Purcell Pavilion on January 4, 2017 in South Bend, Indiana.  (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

N0. 23 Notre Dame moved to 2-0 in the ACC by outlasting No. 9 Louisville, 77-70, for a home win on Wednesday night. The Fighting Irish were able to hold off the Cardinals by knocking down free throws as they went 22-for-25 as they were able to ice the game down the stretch.

This win was important for the Fighting Irish because they remain unbeaten in a brutal league and they’ve done so without senior V.J. Beachem playing well in league play. Beachem is averaging just under 15 points per game on the season and he’s only scored eight points in 69 minutes of ACC play so far as he was held to two points in the Notre Dame win on Wednesday.

With Beachem struggling to find his offense, the Irish once again got solid efforts from Bonzie Colson (18 points, 14 rebounds), Steve Vasturia (24 points) and Matt Farrell (22 points) while the bench also came through with some solid all-around efforts.

For Notre Dame to be 2-0 with basically nothing from Beachem shows how far Farrell has come since the beginning of the year. The junior has really grown comfortable in his role as the Notre Dame lead guard and he does a great job of mixing attacks to the rim and jumpers.

Louisville (12-3, 0-2) drops to 0-2 after previously falling at home to Virginia. The Cardinals continue to get good games from sophomore guard Donovan Mitchell (20 points) and junior guard Quentin Snider (12 points) was also solid. Sophomore forward Deng Adel struggled a bit to a 4-for-13 finish as he ended with 10 points.

One concerning thing for the Cardinals is their true lack of a go-to scorer. This was still a one-possession game with under two minutes left and the Louisville offense tried repeated attempts at lobs to Anas Mahmoud. That goes to show their confidence level in finding one guy who can just go and get a bucket for them in a tight game.

Notre Dame has Vasturia for those tough shots as the senior once again buried a tough runner to make it a two-possession game and put things out of reach for the Cardinals. Coming off of the game-winning three-pointer on the road at Pitt, Vasturia has a lot of confidence in late-game situations.

If Notre Dame is able to get Beachem going again they have the kind of scary offense that is going to be tough to contain for the rest of the season. Farrell has adequately replaced Demetrius Jackson at point and the other experienced pieces in Colson and Vasturia have also developed into consistently productive weapons. Beachem playing at his best could mean Notre Dame is in the discussion to be a surprise ACC contender.

VIDEO: Steve Vasturia late overtime 3 lifts No. 24 Notre Dame past Pitt

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 17:  Ryan Cline #14  of the Purdue Boilermakers and Steve Vasturia #32 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish battle for a loose ball during the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on December 17, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Notre Dame needed overtime and a late three from senior Steve Vasturia to push itself past Pitt for a road ACC win on Saturday.

The No. 24 Irish were down by two with time winding down when Vasturia pump faked and created the go-ahead three. Notre Dame’s road win was important since teams like Duke and North Carolina fell to unranked teams earlier in the day.

VIDEO: Notre Dame’s Matt Farrell gets surprise visit from deployed brother after win

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 10: Matt Farrell #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish drives to the basket as Jalen Brunson #1 of the Villanova Wildcats defends during the second half of a college basketball game at Prudential Center on December 10, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey. Villanova defeated Notre Dame 74-66. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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Notre Dame junior point guard Matt Farrell received a wonderful surprise after Monday night’s win as he was surprised by his brother who is currently deployed in Afghanistan.

After Notre Dame’s 77-62 win over Colgate, First Lieutenant Bo Farrell, Matt’s older brother, appeared on video to support Matt and the Irish before surprising them on the floor in front of the cheering crowd.

Farrell wasn’t expecting to see his brother until February, so this is certainly a great surprise for the holiday season.

No. 15 Purdue goes small, lands comeback win over No. 21 Notre Dame

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 17:  Caleb Swanigan #50 of the Purdue Boilermakers dunks the ball during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on December 17, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Purdue went to a “small” lineup in the second half and made a big comeback to after trailing by 14 at halftime as they rallied to beat No. 21 Notre Dame 86-81.

The No. 15 Boilermakers (9-2) rarely used 7-foot-2 junior center Isaac Haas in the second half, instead opting to play 6-foot-9 forward Caleb Swanigan at center and 6-foot-8 junior Vincent Edwards at forward. The duo came up huge on the interior against Notre Dame and Swanigan was still effective as a rim protector and post scorer to help give Purdue the win. Swanigan finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds while Edwards had 20 points and 10 rebounds.

The Irish (9-2) had another strong outing from Bonzie Colson (23 points, 10 rebounds) and junior point guard Matt Farrell (22 points, 10 assists) but senior Steve Vasturia was cold as he was 1-for-8 from the field for three points. Purdue’s smaller lineup in the second half allowed for them to defend Notre Dame’s perimeter-oriented attack more effectively in the second half. Vasturia had a bad game and senior V.J. Beachem was also held to 10 points.

This was a great comeback win for Purdue as they pick up the program’s first win over Notre Dame since 1966. By being able to go with the lineup without Haas the Boilers played with more urgency and speed as freshman guard Carsen Edwards’ aggressive style has helped the team’s offense. Edwards finished with 11 points and his speed gives Purdue’s offense a gear it hasn’t had the last few seasons.

The Purdue defense also switched on the perimeter and made driving tougher for Notre Dame’s guards like Farrell who were dominating in the first half.

Notre Dame has dropped two consecutive games to quality opponents when they held a lead in the second half. The Irish are clearly talented enough to be a team that once again makes a deep NCAA tournament run but they need to figure out some second-half defensive lapses while also finding a consistent offensive closer to get them through games. The Irish have a balanced offense that can score from all over but who is their go-to guy? Colson seems to be the team’s most consistently productive player but he’s also limited from three if Notre Dame is playing down.