Coming off a win against the Clemson Tigers, the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team played the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (18-12, 9-10 in the ACC) to finish out the regular season. The Hokies were not able to capitalize on the last game’s momentum as they lost to the Fighting Irish 56-64 in a game where the Hokies were never able to find their footing.
The Hokies played a lackadaisical first half as they struggled shooting from the field, only scoring 17; the team shot just 21.4% (six-of-28) in the half.
Along with the bad field-goal percentage, the team shot even worse from three, shooting just 17.6% (three-of-17) from the 3-point line. The Hokies allowed the Fighting Irish to shoot 40% (6-of-15) from three as the Fighting Irish were able to drop 28 points in the first half to lead by 11 at halftime.
The Hokies were able to pick up the pace in the second half as they put up a better shooting performance, shooting 50% (15-of-30) from the floor and 46.6% (7-of-15) from three. However, Virginia Tech did not have an answer for Notre Dame’s offense as they improved their shooting too, shooting 51.8% (14-of-27) from the floor.
Defensively, the Hokies’ hands were very active as the team recorded nine steals and scored 14 points off turnovers to finish out the game. Those were two categories they outmatched the Fighting Irish in. Virginia Tech also had two blocks to Notre Dame’s one block. By the end of the game, Virginia Tech was outrebounded 27-44. Virginia Tech has had problems with rebounding all season as it ranked in the bottom half of the NCAA in that stat (237th in the NCAA).
Despite the loss, junior forward P.J. Horne was able to tally 14 points on an efficient shooting night from beyond the arc; he also had seven rebounds. Freshman Hunter Cattoor was the only other Hokie in double figures, scoring 12 points. Though he did not put up double figures in any stat columns, guard Tyrece Radford was able to contribute with eight points, seven rebounds and two steals. Radford continues to energize the Hokies yet his energy alone was not enough to capture the win.
With this loss against the Fighting Irish, the Hokies finish the regular season with a record of 16-15 (7-13 in the ACC). With a 7-13 record in the ACC, Virginia Tech must string together a championship run if it hopes to advance to the NCAA Tournament. The ACC Tournament will take place March 10 and will end on March 14 in Greensboro, North Carolina.