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Photo by © Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Notre Dame Basketball

Hokies Handle Irish

February 23, 2019

On January 1st in the first game of ACC play, Virginia Tech defeated Notre Dame inside Cassell Coliseum handily. It was the Hokies third win against the Irish all-time in a series very much dominated by Notre Dame over the years. On Saturday night Virginia Tech traveled to South Bend and got its fourth win in the series, to complete the season sweep.

Notre Dame yet again didn’t shoot the ball well, a story-line that has followed the Irish all season. However, Virginia Tech didn’t shoot the ball particularly well either which kept the game close until the final whistle.

The Hokies held the lead from start to finish, but couldn’t put the Irish away until the very end when their rebounding gave them the edge they needed. Virginia Tech sealed the 67-59 with two free throws by Ty Outlaw with four seconds left in regulation.

Notre Dame dropped under .500 with the loss (13-14) and suffered its eleventh loss in ACC play (3-11). Virginia Tech improved to 21-6 and 10-5 in ACC play.

With just under four minutes left in the game, Notre Dame was able to hit back-to-back three-pointers off the hands of DJ Harvey and TJ Gibbs. This quick 6-0 run cut Virginia Tech’s lead to just six, 52-46. Unfortunately, Notre Dame couldn’t find a rhythm offensively and matched Virginia Tech free throw for free throw for the next three minutes of play.  

Notre Dame shot just 33 percent from the field (19-58) and was outrebounded 49-27. John Mooney recorded yet again another double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Gibbs added 18 points.

Virginia Tech didn’t shoot much better. The Hokies shot 37 percent from the field (19-52). Kerry Blackshear led the way for the Hokies with 22 points and 14 rebounds.

Down nine, 25-16 with four minutes left in the first half Notre Dame freshman Nate Laszewski scored five consecutive points to cut Virginia Tech’s lead to just four, 25-21 despite the poor shooting from the Irish in the first half. However, the next three offensive possessions by Notre Dame was an example of his poor the offensive execution was in the first 20 minutes of play.

On back-to-back possessions Notre Dame forced turnovers. The ball ended up in the hands of Gibbs on the fast break attempt and the junior was unable to convert at the rim. The third possession was another fast break chance where Dane Goodwin pushed the floor and lobbed alley-oop pass to DJ Harvey who missed the dunk. The Irish missed an opportunity to get six easy points and take their first lead of the game.

The missed shots gave Virginia Tech opportunity, they scored five points to extend the lead back to nine, 30-21 before Juwan Durham hit two free throws for Notre Dame to end the half. The Hokies went into the locker room ahead seven, 30-23.

Notre Dame was cold for the whole first half. They didn’t score their first field goal until Durham hit a fade-a-way with 15:13 to go in the first half. They also went on a six minutes field goal drought after Durham’s bucket. They concluded the first half shooting 24 percent from the field (6-25). Gibbs led the way with six points but also struggled shooting the basketball. He shot 1-7 from the field but converted all three of his free throw attempts.

Notre Dame forced 11 Virginia Tech turnovers which helped them keep it close. Virginia Tech also couldn’t find a rhythm offensively in the first half. The Hokies shot just 38 percent from the field (10-26). Although they hit five of their 12 three-point attempts. They also outrebounded the Irish 23-13. Blackshear led the way with nine points and six rebounds for Virginia Tech.

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