Notre Dame built a huge first-half lead and withstood a shaky late-game stretch in a 78-71 victory against Georgia Tech in the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament on Tuesday afternoon in Charlotte, N.C.
John Mooney’s 20 points led four players in double figures for the Irish.
Notre Dame (14-18) goes on to play seventh-seeded Louisville on Wednesday night in the second round.
Dane Goodwin scored 15 points, Nate Laszewski had 14 and Juwan Durham provided 12 points for the Irish.
Notre Dame, the No. 15 seed in the 15-team league, compiled its second-most points of the season against an ACC opponent in winning Tuesday’s game. The Irish led 52-32 at halftime.
Moses Wright racked up 25 points on 12-for-18 shooting for 10th-seeded Georgia Tech (14-18). James Banks III added 12 points and 11 rebounds, Khalid Moore had 11 points and Michael Devoe finished with 10 points.
Georgia Tech, which won its final two regular-season games and then had last weekend off, closed to within 13 points with about eight minutes to play and then stalled. Another surge brought the Yellow Jackets to within 70-61.
When Jose Alvarado and Moore hit 3-point shots on consecutive possessions, it was 72-69 with 1:06 to play.
Mooney’s jumper gave the Irish a two-possession lead, and Prentiss Hubb connected on two free throws at the 32-second mark to help thwart Georgia Tech’s comeback.
Mooney ended up with a team-high 10 rebounds.
The Yellow Jackets lost despite shooting 51.7 percent from the field and committing only six turnovers.
Notre Dame shot 58.1 percent from the field in the first half, making seven 3-point attempts. That level of offense came despite going the final 3:34 of the half without a field goal.
The first-half scoring outburst was notable because in Saturday’s regular-season finale, the Irish fell 56-53 to Pittsburgh and dropped into last place.
Georgia Tech and Notre Dame split two regular-season games, both winning at home.
—Field Level Media