In what is sure to be one of the most talked-about games in recent Virginia Tech history, the Hokies lost 71-65 to Notre Dame Wednesday in the second round of the ACC Tournament. The Hokies led by as much as 21 at one point, but were unable to bring home the win.
Virginia Tech had secured a first-round bye for the third-straight year and had momentum going into the postseason. The team has had a string of success to end the season, although their last outing was a loss to Miami.
The Hokies found themselves awaiting a matchup with the Notre Dame for the second time this season. In Virginia Tech’s regular season win, however, Fighting Irish stars Matt Farrell and Bonzie Colson were both inactive.
The matchup stayed close in the beginning with both teams attempting three-point shots right out of the gate.
Neither team could break the game open until the Hokies went on a 16-4 run with 9:15 to go in the first half, and went into halftime with a 34-21 lead.
The Hokies kept up the offensive barrage in the second half, leading 47-26 with 15:07 left to go in the game.
Notre Dame slowly started to come back as they started making their three-pointers, and when Chris Clarke committed a technical foul with 8:00 left, the momentum really started to swing. Matt Farrell made both his free throws, and the Irish never looked back.
A layup by Rex Pflueger followed by a three-pointer by Bonzie in the final three minutes gave Notre Dame their first lead of the half.
The Hokies made two three-pointers in the final minute, but they could not climb out of the hole they had dug, and the Irish won the game to advance in the tournament.
Justin Robinson was one of the leading scorers for Tech, scoring 15 points in addition to snagging two rebounds and seven assists. Robinson was 4-for-13 from the field and 5-for-6 from the charity stripe Wednesday.
Justin Bibbs was the other leading scorer for the Hokies, dropping 15 points as well while going 6-for-14 from the field. The senior guard was 3-for-8 from beyond the arc, leading all Hokies in three-pointers on the night.
Chris Clarke was the only other Hokie to score double digits Wednesday night, scoring 12 for Virginia Tech while adding five rebounds and two assists. The Hokies’ sixth man went 5-for-7 from the field and 1-for-2 from three-point range. Clarke was also 1-for-2 on foul shots on the night.
Virginia Tech’s shooting was poor in the second half of Wednesday’s matchup as the Hokies shot just 37.5 percent from the field. Overall, Tech shot 41.7 percent, significantly lower than their season mark of 49.9 percent.
The Hokies were unable to get their three-point shots to fall as well. Tech shot just 26.7 percent from beyond the arc, compared to their season average of 38.5 percent.
Turnovers and rebounds proved to be lethal for Tech as well. Notre Dame was able to score 17 points off of turnovers and 10 second chance points throughout the game.
With the loss, the Hokies are eliminated from the ACC Tournament, but will receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament this weekend. The NCAA Selection Show will take place Sunday evening.