Tonight the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Men’s Basketball team hosted the #20 Virginia Tech Hokies at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, IN. The Irish were hoping to end a 0-27 drought against ranked opponents, which stretches back to November 22, 2017 (vs. #6 Wichita State). Would the Irish snap the streak?
To start the game off both teams missed their first shots, and then both made their second shots (Nahiem Alleyne for Virginia Tech, and Juwan Durham for Notre Dame), to make it 2-2, with 18:14 on the clock. The next few possessions went back and forth, with both teams missing shot after shot. Finally, Virginia Tech broke the scoring drought on a Justyn Mutts layup, Hokies 4-2 (16:02).
Prentiss Hubb and Dane Goodwin both made unsuccessful attempts at three-point buckets, and then Virginia Tech’s Hunter Cattoor successfully made his three. Finally the Irish got some points on the board on a Prentiss Hubb layup, Hokies 7-4 (13:49). With 12:05 on the clock, Virginia Tech was on a 12-3 scoring run, and Cattoor sunk yet another three-point shot, which increased the Hokie lead over the Irish to seven, 12-5 . The Irish missed all four of their three-point attempts so far.
Virginia Tech’s Keve Aluma would make a layup and draw the foul from Durham, and go to the line to make it a three point play. Hokies up, 15-5 (11:16). The Irish broke their scoring drought at 10:22 on a Hubb three-point jumper, 15-8. The Hokies responded with another three of their own, for a 10-point Hokie lead, 18-8. Surprisingly, Nate Laszewski has been awfully quiet thus far in this game.
After another Irish scoring drought (four minutes), they finally sunk a basket on a Hubb layup. However, the Hokies continued to score more than the Irish, 22-10 (5:21). Then at 3:42, Hubb made a three-point shot, seemingly the only Irish player who can sink anything. Notre Dame down by fourteen points, 27-13. Finally, Laszewski made his first layup with 3:02 on the clock.
The Irish headed into the locker room at halftime down by 9, looking to regroup, get some scoring going, and get Laszewski more involved.
First half scoring by starters:
The Irish headed back out on the court, hoping for someone to step up and assist Hubb in scoring (Hubb had 17 of the 22 first half points). The second half started slow, with both teams missing shots and turning over the ball. The Hokies got the first points of the second half on a Wabissa Bede three-pointer, 34-22. A Bede foul then sent Hubb to the line and he made one free throw shot. Nikola Djogo then showed some Irish fire with a big dunk.
Trey Wertz got his first points of the game on a jump shout and foul, for a three point play. The Irish started showing some signs of life, following the Wertz score and a Laszewski layup, but even with some signs of life the Irish still trailed 42-31. The Irish just couldn’t seem to get their shots to fall or prevent the Hokies from making theirs. Virginia Tech held solid control from the beginning of the game, and with eight minutes off the clock in the second half, the Hokies were up 50-35.
The Hokies did not give the Irish any easy looks tonight. And their defense was completely prepared for what Notre Dame brought offensively.
Tony Sanders Jr got his first points of the game on a layup at 10:03, followed by a Goodwin layup, and the score was 50-39 (Hokies) at 9:39. Goodwin then made an unsuccessful three-point attempt, followed by a Virginia Tech unsuccessful three-point attempt, and the Irish got the ball back. On the next ND possession, however, Laszewski got an offensive foul, his fourth, and headed to the bench. (Media timeout 7:39)
Notre Dame, down by 12, with just under seven minutes left in the game had plenty of time to shrink the lead, they just needed to get some offense going. Goodwin and Wertz both got buckets to sink, and the Irish were down by eleven, 56-45 (6:15).
Hubb, who was so hot in the first half, with 5:26 remaining in the half, was 0-8.
Laszewski made a layup at 4:38, closely followed by a Hokie layup from Alleyne, and another Hokie layup by Mutts, and the Hokie lead was 62-47. You can sense the frustration in Purcell Pavilion from the couch in your living room. And at the media timeout, with 2:38 remaining, the Hokies were up by fifteen.
Hubb got his first bucket of the half at 2:07, missing his free throw shot. This was followed by another Hubb layup at 1:28, Irish down by eleven, 62-51. Unfortunately, the Irish just could not get a scoring run going soon enough tonight, and the streak of not being able to beat a ranked opponent continues.
The Hokies beat the Irish by a score of 62-51.
Final Game Stats:
The game high scorers were Prentiss Hubb for Notre Dame (22 points, 8/20 FG, and 3/5 FT), and for Virginia Tech Nahiem Alleyne (15 points, 7/14 FG, and 0/0 FT).
Next up the Irish face Pittsburgh (in Pittsburgh) on Saturday, January 30th, at 8PM.
Cheers & GO IRISH!