Notre Dame stayed perfect in conference play Saturday afternoon with a 76-71 victory over Virginia Tech that pushed the Irish into first place as the league’s lone unbeaten team. Florida State had unbeaten in league play as well but the Seminoles fell to North Carolina earlier today.
Notre Dame raced out to a big early lead against the Hokies leading by as many as 19 points in the first half, but much like the Irish football team against the Hokies last fall, Notre Dame allowed Virginia Tech back in the game in the second half. Luckily for the Irish, the basketball team was still able to hang on for victory unlike the football team was on Senior Day.
The Irish stormed out of the gates in the first half while building it’s 19 point lead thanks in large part to a 17-0 nothing run. The Irish only lead by eight points and the half though. Virginia Tech used a 19-5 run in the second half to get back into the game and preventing Notre Dame from having an easy day at the office.
The win was Notre Dame’s 5th in as many tries in ACC play and 7th in a row overall. Those five ACC league wins, however, have come by a total of 23 points as the Irish continue to win close games with clutch play in the final two minutes. Another difference between the Irish on the hardwood versus the gridiron.
The Game Was Over When
After briefly surrendering the lead in the final two minutes, Notre Dame took a three point lead on a VJ Beachem jumper with 49 seconds left. As Virginia Tech attempted to save clock by rolling the ball up the floor, Matt Farrell made a gutsy dive at the ball to steal the ball near mid-court. Farrell drove down the court and dished off to TJ Gibbs for an easy layup and a five point lead. From that point on, Virginia Tech was forced to foul the Irish to extend the game.
The game nearly got interesting even after the Irish took the five point lead because of some uncharacteristicly poor free throw shooting by Notre Dame. The Irish entered the game leading the nation in free throw shooting but connected on just 65% of their attempts from the line Saturday afternoon.
Players of the Game
- Steve Vasturia led Notre Dame with 20 points on 8 of 14 shooting. Vasturia has now scored in double figures in six straight games and has four games with 20 points or more on the season.
- Bonzie Colson bounced back from a cold night shooting on Thursday with 14 points and 12 rebounds for yet another double double. Colson has 11 double-doubles on the season.
- TJ Gibbs had a season high 13 points off the bench while playing 17 minutes – his highest total in any game this season against big time competition.
Up Next for Notre Dame Basketball
Notre Dame takes it perfect conference record on the road again on Wednesday night against Florida State. Tip off is set for 7:00 PM. The game will be televised on the ACC Network.