With their win over Virginia Tech and Florida State’s recent loss to North Carolina, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are now officially first place in the ACC as they improved to 5-0 on the season after a five point win against the Hokies.
Virginia Tech was nationally ranked a few weeks ago after defeating #5 (at the time) Duke, but fell out of the AP Top 25 as a result of two straight losses to North Carolina State and Florida State.
The Hokies are now 13-4 on the season after today’s loss to the Fighting Irish, but have won against prominent basketball opponents in Michigan, Texas A & M, Duke and Syracuse.
Before today’s game, Notre Dame and the Hokies had played against each other seven times with the Irish now leading the series 7-1. The Irish won last years matchup between the Hokies, winning by only two points at home. Virginia Tech hasn’t won against the Irish since the 1973 NIT Championship game.
Notre Dame got their first lead of the game three minutes into the first half, keeping it for the remainder of the opening period, and leading by as much as 19 points after a 17-0 run.
The Fighting Irish went 15-27 from the field (55.6%) and an even 50% from beyond the arc while also going 4 for 4 from the free throw line. Notre Dame went into half time up 39-31.
Notre Dame got off to a great start in the second half, building a 14 point lead with 12 minutes left in the game until the Hokies brought it back and eventually evened the score at 59 with just over six minutes left in the game.
Virginia Tech achieved their first lead of the game off a free throw made by guard Chris Clarke, making the score 67-66 for the Hokies.
However following the lead change, the Irish went on a 6-0 run capped by a layup from Temple Gibbs, to pull ahead 72-67 with 41 seconds left.
Virginia Tech had a chance to at least tie the game due to Notre Dame’s inability to make their free throws down the stretch but the Irish prevailed with their ability to rebound. The Irish won 76-71, improving to 5-0 in ACC play and 16-2 on the season.
“It’s a group that kind of likes playing on the road and likes playing in front of tough crowds and they kinda like that challenge and they certainly accepted that today” said head coach Mike Brey following the game.
Steve Vasturia led the Irish in scoring recording 20 points, going 8 for 14 from the field and 3 for 4 from beyond the arc. Vasturia also recorded four rebounds and dished out four assists.
Bonzie Colson recorded a double-double scoring 14 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, while point guard Matt Farrell recorded 14 points as well but recorded five assist and three steals in addition.
VJ Beachem had a quiet game scoring only four points, grabbing three rebounds and blocking two shots while Martinas Geben recorded zero points, but grabbed three rebounds, dished out one assist and recorded a steal.
Mike Brey got more production out of his bench today with Austin Torres scoring four points, Rex Pflueger scoring seven points and the freshman Temple Gibbs having his best game of his career so far, recording 13 points.
The freshman went 5-7 from the field, grabbed three rebounds, recorded one assist and a steal in 13 minutes of playing time.
The Irish will end their three game road stint in Tallahassee, Florida taking on the #9 Florida State Seminoles. The game is set for Wednesday January 18th at 7 PM EST.
Notre Dame had lost last seasons matchup with the Seminoles 77-56 and regardless of the Seminoles not being a traditional basketball school, they are slowly becoming one of the ACC and nations top teams.