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Irish clamp down to top Georgia Tech

Jan 15, 2015 - 3:44 AM Atlanta, GA ( - Steve Vasturia scored five of his 11 points in the final 4 1/2 minutes to help 12th-ranked Notre Dame survive another challenge from Georgia Tech with a 62-59 win.

Just 11 days after the Fighting Irish outlasted the Yellow Jackets in a double-overtime thriller in South Bend, Notre Dame (16-2, 3-1 ACC) overcame a 38-30 halftime deficit and the absence of second-leading scorer Zach Auguste due to a reported academic issue behind a stifling defensive effort in the second half.

Georgia Tech (9-7, 0-4) was held without a field goal for over eight minutes after Corey Heyward's 3-pointer with 8:14 remaining, and the Yellow Jackets went just 6-of-23 from the field after intermission.

Vasturia's layup with 4:16 left gave Notre Dame a 57-56 lead, while his three-point play with just 8.8 seconds to go ensured the Irish would avoid a second consecutive defeat.

Jerian Grant aided Notre Dame's cause with a 12-point, six-assist effort, while freshman Bonzie Colson helped offset Auguste's loss by contributing a career-best 10 points off the bench.

Demarco Cox finished with 17 points and seven rebounds in the latest tough loss for the Yellow Jackets, whose four defeats in conference play this year have come by a combined 18 points. Chris Bolden had 13 points for Georgia Tech, but just two came after halftime.

Outplayed for the majority of the first half, Notre Dame began the second on a 7-0 run to pull within a point, then grabbed a 44-43 lead shortly afterward on a Pat Connaughton triple with 15 minutes to play.

The Irish were up 53-49 prior to Heyward's trey with just over eight minutes remaining, which jump-started a 7-2 Yellow Jackets' spurt that sent them back in front.

Georgia Tech misfired on six consecutive shot attempts after Heyward's basket, though Notre Dame also was held off the scoreboard for nearly four minutes after Vasturia's go-ahead layup.

Grant finally ended the drought with a clutch step-back jumper from the right side with 19.6 seconds left that put the Irish up 59-56. Georgia Tech's Marcus Georges-Hunt then missed the front end of a 1-and-1 on the ensuing possession, with Colson grabbing the rebound and Grant firing a pass down the court that Vasturia converted while being fouled to seal the outcome.

The Yellow Jackets took advantage of Auguste's unavailability, as well as a hot start from Bolden, during an opening half in which they led by as much as 12 points. Bolden put up 11 in the first 10-plus minutes, including each of Georgia Tech's total during an 8-2 run that had the Irish down 22-15 with 11:09 to go in the period.

After three straight interior baskets by the Jackets later in the frame staked them to a 35-23 lead, Notre Dame countered with a 7-1 push before Robert Sampson's layup had Georgia Tech ahead by a 38-30 count at the break.

The Yellow Jackets shot 53.6 percent in the initial stanza and dominated in the lane, outscoring Notre Dame by a 22-12 margin in the paint.

Game Notes

Georges-Hunt, Georgia Tech's leading scorer on the season, had 20 points in the 83-76 double-overtime defeat to Notre Dame on Jan. 3, but managed just six while going 0-of-6 from the floor in Wednesday's rematch ... Notre Dame, which entered the contest atop Division I in field goal percentage (53.5 percent), shot only 43.5 percent for the game ... Auguste is averaging 14.3 points and 6.4 rebounds on the season ... The Yellow Jackets have now dropped six straight home games against ranked teams since topping then-No. 17 Clemson on Jan. 19, 2010.