Notre Dame Rallies Over Virginia Tech
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Trailing by 21 points and its NCAA Tournament hopes hanging by a thread, Notre Dame (20-13, 8-10 ACC) locked in on both ends of the floor and staged a remarkable comeback to defeat Virginia Tech (21-11, 10-8 ACC) by a score of 71-65 to advance to the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament.
The Irish outscored the Hokies 45-18 over the final 15 minutes of play to seal the six-point victory. Notre Dame was led by senior Matt Farrell on the offensive end, scoring a game-high 22 points. Junior guard Rex Pflueger poured in 14 points, while sophomore guard T.J. Gibbs scored 13 and Bonzie Colson added 12 to pace the Irish offense.
With the victory, Notre Dame will play Duke in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 8. The game will air live on ESPN.
Notre Dame held an early lead at 13-8, thanks to a pair of makes from the perimeter from Gibbs. The Hokies then scored 19 of the next 23 points to take its first double digit lead of the night at 27-17 with seven minutes left in the first frame. Virginia Tech increased its lead to 13 at 34-21 heading into the halftime break.
The Hokies picked up right where they left off to open the second stanza, pushing its lead to as many as 21 points with 15 minutes left in regulation.
Trailing 51-33, the Irish offense finally kicked into gear. Notre Dame used three straight makes from beyond the arc on successive possessions to power a 17-3 to cut the deficit to just four points at 54-50 with 7:45 left on the clock. Gibbs and Farrell each scored five points in the stretch to spur the comeback.
The two sides traded baskets, moving the score to 59-55 with three minutes to play. The Irish then cut the lead to two points off a layup from Pflueger and then took the lead off a three-pointer to beat the shot clock from Colson to go on top 60-59 with two minutes left on the scoreboard.
Notre Dame's defense continued to lock down the Hokies, as the Irish lead ballooned to seven points at 66-59 with 35 ticks left on the clock. The Hokies connected on two three-pointers down the stretch but the Irish made enough free throws in the final seconds to come away with the 71-65 victory and keep their tournament hopes alive.