Hokies lose huge 2nd half lead, fall to Notre Dame 71-65

Duke guard Trevon Duval goes up to dunk against Notre Dame guard Matt Farrell during the second half during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Atlantic Coast Conference men's tournament Thursday

"We just completely fell apart the last 15 minutes defensively".

Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams and players Chris Clarke and Justin Robinson talk with reporters after the Hokies' 71-65 loss to Notre Dame on Wednesday in the ACC Tournament. Things got dicey in the final two minutes.

By the end of Thursday, the ACC could have 10 teams feeling comfortable for Selection Sunday.

Florida State is susceptible to a loss given its poor finish to ACC play, which featured four defeats in seven games. I mean, it's a learning experience, hopefully we take positives and negatives from this and just move on.

And that's after the Irish head coach was so frustrated at intermission (the Irish trailed 34-21) that he basically told his players to figure it out themselves.

"Obviously it's going to be a little different game with Matt and myself playing", Colson said Wednesday.

"He didn't call it", senior guard Rex Pflueger said. Tech continued scoring the basketball at a high rate, manufacturing an advantage as many as 21 points after a Blackshear layup with 15 minutes left to play.

Irish junior shortstop Cole Daily runs to first base during Notre Dame's 8-3 win over Toledo on April 12 at Frank Eck Stadium. That basket gave the Fighting Irish its first lead since Virginia Tech tied the game with 10:39 left in the first half.

N.C. STATE (RPI: 64, KenPom: 44, NBC seed: 8): I've seen some discussion about N.C. State's chances as a bubble team, and I don't quite understand why. During that stretch, Notre Dame failed to connect on six consecutive field goals. ESPN's bracketology expert, Joe Lunardi, had the Irish as the fifth team out of the tournament coming into Wednesday's game.

Duke forward Marvin Bagley III shoots against Notre Dame forward Bonzie Colson during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Atlantic Coast Conference men's tournament Thursday

Notre Dame looked defeated and the hundreds of Irish fans were silent.

The Irish scored only six points in the final 13:32 of the half.

"I'm sure this significantly helps our resume, but our focus now is just going to turn to Virginia, a team that we've lost to twice and who we've played well against", Louisville coach David Padgett said. Farrell said after the game his tenacity and energy that ignited the play proved to be the clear momentum shifter his squad needed. "Tonight you saw it, the toughness hanging on in there". It's going to be hard as heck the last 20 minutes.

This will be the second game of the season between these two teams. "We've got the best strength of schedule we've had in years".

Brey had to call timeout after those two early Hokie buckets. Virginia Tech was making the Irish look like a bunch of old men who were past their prime - darting past them for transition layups, out-leaping them for rebounds, hassling their shooters into miss after miss.

"I don't want to hear about being one of the best 68; when I have my guys back, we're a Top 20 team", Brey said. Notre Dame's 13-point comeback after halftime was the third-largest for a winning team in ACC tournament history. The Fighting Irish went a full month between wins in January and early February, but they're 3-1 since Colson returned from injury - and also beat Wichita State in November when he was healthy.

In the midst of the scoreless streak for Virginia Tech, Colson hit an ever-so-unlikely banked three-pointer as the shot clock expired and somehow Notre Dame led 60-59.

On the ensuing possession, Notre Dame came through with four total free throws, closing within four points at 54-50.




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