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Notre Dame Basketball

Recruiting Loss Translates to Another Notre Dame Home Defeat

February 11, 2023

Grad transfer Grant Basile chose Virginia Tech over Notre Dame on May 4th of 2022 ending his recruiting process after transferring from Wright State. 

The 6-foot-9 forward was arguably Mike Brey’s top transfer target and Basile showed why on Saturday afternoon as he tallied 33 points and seven rebounds in Virginia Tech’s (15-10, 5-9) 93-87 win over Notre Dame (10-15, 2-12). 

Basile went 13-for-19 from the field and 4-for-4 from the line, but his stat line was far from the most impressive achievement of the day. The Wisconsin native broke Notre Dame’s spirit two feet from the rim. 

With 9:21 left in the game, Basile scored a layup to put the Hokies up 69-63. Virginia Tech would go on to score on 10 straight possessions with Basile scoring on nine of those trips with most of the damage coming on layups. 

The stretch was embarrassing defense as Notre Dame couldn’t stop the ball from going to the post and couldn’t stop Basile from missing. During the run, the Hokies would put the game away as the lead would be extended to 85-75 with 3:49 left on the clock. 

“Can they score or what,” stated Brey. “Oh my God. You could see why I tried to get Basile. Did a great job on that recruitment, huh? He’s obviously really good. They’re so old and they have a tempo. Quite frankly, you hope they miss a few. 

“We got 87 on the board, but you gave up 93. They’re really gifted they got off to a tough start, but I think they’re in gear now.” 

Virginia Tech can definitely score, but Notre Dame also couldn’t play defense. The Hokies shot 57 percent from the field and 43 percent three, but the difference came inside as Virginia Tech held a 42-32 edge on points in the paint.

The loss puts Notre Dame at 2-12 in ACC play and Brey might be running out of messages to his team as the best he could muster on Saturday was the practice schedule and a few thoughts on Tuesday’s road trip to Duke. 

“Our mood has been pretty consistent because we’ve taken a lot of punches,” Brey explained. “All I said to them was ‘practice at 3:00 tomorrow.’ We get to go to Durham. You four captains the last time we were in Durham, you won. Of course, there was no one in the building, so it’ll be a different atmosphere. 

“If you can play well and steal a win on Tuesday, it would heal a lot of wounds. We’ll come back to work tomorrow.” 

Notre Dame forward Nate Laszewski did his part as he finished with 33 points and eight rebounds, including scoring eight points on the first three possessions of the second half. Yet, it was the Virginia Tech bigs that finished the game, which is a story Notre Dame knows all too well this season. 

Hokies forward Justyn Mutts scored 19 points and pulled down eight boards in the win and drew significant praise from Brey. 

“Mutts is such a facilitator,” Brey stated. “He’s a point forward who is really hard to deal with. Nate, I thought in the first half did a great job on him. He gets to the foul line and he’s high-lowing it and we were switching some stuff because we didn’t want him to make a three and then he posts. Mutts make them go with his passing. 

“Grant’s a heck of a talent, man. He’s a great talent.” 

Laszewski’s 33 points set a new career-high for the fifth-year senior and it was extremely efficient. The Florida native hit 12-of-17 field goals, 6-of-9 three-pointers and went 3-for-4 from the foul line. 

Brey was more than pleased with Laszewski’s effort and admitted his 6-foot-10 star is playing for more than wins as the Irish limp to the end of the season. 

”I feel bad,” said Brey. “I will tell him to not dwell on the loss and keep playing his backside off. He’s now playing for some salary and some money and being scouted. God bless him. Go do it. No one is more disappointed in not winning than him, but come on man. Business is business. If we get a win with it, great. If not, keep building your resume and make some money next year.” 

Notre Dame will travel to Duke for a Tuesday night clash on Valentine's Day. Tip is set for 7:00 PM on ESPN. 

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