Georgia Tech guard Quinton Stephens drives the lane as Notre Dame guard Austin Burgett defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Garrick Sherman scored 21 points and Eric Atkins added 17, including a key 3-pointer, to lead Notre Dame to a 65-62 victory over Georgia Tech on Wednesday night.
Georgia Tech cut a nine-point Notre Dame lead to 56-55 when Kammeon Holsey scored on a rebound after the Yellow Jackets forced a shot-clock violation. But the Irish answered with a 7-1 run as Sherman and Pat Connaughton scored inside and Atkins hit a 3-pointer to make it 63-56.
Robert Carter Jr., who led Georgia Tech with 19 points, hit consecutive 3s to cut the lead to 63-62. After Connaughton hit a pair of free throws, Marcus Georges-Hunt and Carter missed 3-pointers in the final 10 seconds as the Irish held on.
The Irish (15-14, 6-10 Atlantic Coast Conference) averted falling below .500 for the first time this late in a season since finishing 14-16 during the 1998-99 season in John MacLeod's last year as coach. The Yellow Jackets (13-15, 4-11) lost their third straight.
Sherman broke the 20-point barrier for the first time in a month after being held to single-digit scoring for four straight games since sustaining a chip in a finger in his right hand earlier this month. He was 10 of 15 from the field as the Irish dominated inside, outscoring the Yellow Jackets 42-16 in the paint.
The Irish held Georgia Tech's leading scorer, Trae Golden, scoreless. He was back in the starting lineup for a second straight game after three weeks of being slowed by a groin injury, but was 0 of 10 from the field, including 0 of 5 from 3-point range.
The rest of his teammates were 10 of 15 from behind the arc, which helped Georgia Tech stay in the game. Georges-Hunt added 13 points for the Yellow Jackets, who shot 38 percent for the game.
The Irish overcame a slow start, coming back from an 11-point deficit with 8 minutes to go in the first half. They took a two-point lead at halftime and using a 12-3 run to stretch to 47-38 when Atkins hit a 3-pointer with 13:52 left.
The Yellow Jackets cut the lead to 53-50 when Chris Bolden hit a pair of 3-pointers.
The Yellow Jackets started the game 4 of 6 from 3-point range, opening a 22-11 lead on a shot from behind the arc by Carter. But the Irish, who missed their first eight 3-pointers, ended the half on a 22-10 run, with Atkins and Connaughton hitting 3-pointers in the final 2 minutes to give Notre Dame a 33-31 lead at intermission. The Irish finished the half by hitting 10 of their last 12 shots and shot 47 percent for the game.
Coach Mike Brey improved his record at Notre Dame to 300-156, becoming just the third Fighting Irish coach to reach that mark. The others were Digger Phelps (393-197) and George Keogan (327-97). Brey is one win away from his 400th win as a head coach at 399-208.