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Notre Dame Men’s Basketball: Irish Defeat Virginia Tech 74-66

The Irish snapped a losing streak and picked up their 3rd conference win of the season in a pretty complete performance that saw everybody who played chip in

NCAA Basketball: Virginia Tech at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball team snapped a 7-game losing streak Saturday evening, taking down the Virginia Tech Hokies 74 to 66 at Purcell Pavilion.

The Irish were led in the contest by Markus Burton, who was sensational on the day in just about every aspect of the game, scoring 16 points while also dishing out 8 assists, picking up 6 steals, and snagging 4 rebounds. Braeden Shrewsberry (12 points, 5 rebounds), Kebba Njie (11 points, 6 rebounds), Carey Booth (8 points), and Logan Imes (8 points, 3 rebounds) also chipped in, while Julian Roper II added 7 points and 5 boards.

NCAA Basketball: Virginia Tech at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

ND shot 49% from the floor and 35% from three on the game, while also out-rebounding Virginia Tech 34-28 and winning the turnover battle 8 to 11.

The Hokies were paced in scoring by Hunter Cattoor, who dropped in 18 points while shooting 7-of-16 from the field. Sean Pedulla (13 points, 3 assists), Mylyjael Poteat (14 points, 5 rebounds), Tyler Nickel (9 points), and Robbie Beran (8 points, 13 rebounds) also had nice games.

NCAA Basketball: Virginia Tech at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

VaTech head coach Mike Young’s squad shot 44% on the evening, including 33% (8-of-24) from three-point range. However, 6 of those 8 three-pointers came in the first half for the Hokies, as they struggled to hit shots down the stretch in this one.

Virginia Tech started the game hot from long range, though, hitting 5 of their first 6 attempts from deep to take an early 17-13 lead. The Irish hung around by shooting decently from the field themselves, though, and by forcing 6 first half Hokie turnovers to keep their opponents from pulling away for much of the half.

About midway through the period, Irish forward Matt Zona scored 5 quick points to spark a nice stretch for the Irish where they took a narrow lead and held onto it for the next 5 or 6 minutes of basketball, driven by Markus Burton getting going from the field and Carey Booth chipping in. ND led 28-25 at the 6 minute mark.

The Hokies cranked it up a notch just before the half, though, using an 11-0 run and a 3-minute Irish drought to take a 39-30 lead. In the final 2 minutes, Shrewsberry knocked down a three and Burton managed a layup, though, helping ND close the gap and go into the half down just 39-35.

In the second half, the Irish built on their nice finish to the first half with made shots from Shrewsberry, Njie, and Burton fueling a 14-0 run. Burton, especially, was getting the crowd going with some really nifty drives to the basket.

The Hokies finally responded and pulled even again, with the next few minutes involving the Irish taking small leads only for Virginia Tech to tie it back up as ND struggled to box out and keep guys like Poteat off the offensive glass for second-chance buckets.

Imes provided a really nice spark in the final 10 minutes for the Irish, getting a basket to give the Irish a 51-49 lead, then burying a three soon after to give Notre Dame some breathing room at the 7-minute mark. From there, the Irish built on Imes’ scoring burst to go on a 9-0 run in total, with Burton finding Njie for an emphatic dunk to make it 60-51 with less than 6 minutes to play.

From there, Virginia Tech threatened to get back into it with threes/three-point plays and by forcing some ND turnovers and mistakes with full-court pressure, but Shrewsberry hit another three, Burton made some nice defensive plays, and the Irish hit enough free throws and got enough stops down the stretch (forcing VaTech to finish 2/13 from deep in the 2nd half) to walk away with just their third conference victory of the season.

NCAA Basketball: Virginia Tech at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

With the win, Notre Dame improves to 8-16 on the season and 3-10 in ACC play.

They will pick it back up on Valentines Day, Wednesday, when they play host to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets — a team who’s been one of the Irish’s three ACC wins so far this year.