The Irish looked all but dead in the early stages of the second half against Virginia Tech.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish Matt Farrell (5) and Bonzie Colson (35) hug as the Irish defeat the Hokies 71-65 at the Barclays Center, March 7, 2018.
Louisville can solidify its bid with a win over Virginia on Thursday – remember, the Cardinals would’ve had the Cavs beat just last week if not for an epic collapse. At times in the first half against the Hokies, fatigue appeared to be setting in for the Fighting Irish. That basket gave the Fighting Irish its first lead since Virginia Tech tied the game with 10:39 left in the first half. The Hokies asked for foul calls that didn’t come, struggled to keep on defense, shook their heads in disgust after their own missed shots and Notre Dame’s makes. “It’s hard to do with Virginia Tech”.
But nobody is calling a charge in a mascot game.
Irish assistant coach Ryan Ayers at halftime told strength coach Tony Rolinski he would do chin-ups on a bar in the locker room if Notre Dame came back and won. The Hokies led by as much as 21 at one point, but were unable to bring home the win. When asked whether or not Farrell flopped after the game, Clarke was blunt. “But it was dumb on my part to even retaliate, to try to get the ball”. “It’s a Tech. I wasn’t surprised”.
Nevertheless, Farrell couldn’t have flopped without the slight shove from Clarke. Colson looked exhausted, which was understandable given that he was playing on consecutive days in just his fourth game back from a foot fracture.
Notre Dame finally regained the lead with 2:02 remaining. It banked in, giving the Irish a 60-59 lead.
Despite four season-ending injuries which left the Irish with seven healthy scholarship players (no scholarship guard off the bench), Coach McGraw still guided Notre Dame to the program standard of success.
But just completely fell apart the last 15 minutes defensively.
Notre Dame continues its run at the ACC Tournament in a quarterfinal matchup with No. 2 seed Duke on Thursday in a nationally televised contest at 7 p.m. ET.
In the same building past year in NY, the Blue Devils were the team playing more games than any of their opponents yet still finding ways to stage second-half comebacks, winning four games in four days to take home the trophy. They looked exhausted heading into halftime, particularly Bonzie Colson.
The Hokies led 34-21 at the half but were outscored by the Fighting Irish 50-31 in the second half. 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.
“I just control the things I can control, and the only thing I’ve been anxious about since we played Saturday was getting my team ready to play”, Boynton said after the eighth-seeded Cowboys’ 71-60 victory over No. 9 seed Oklahoma in the opening round Wednesday night. But it didn’t matter.
Yes, they lost, and they lost quite a bit.
“I mean, first things first, we’ve got a Miami team who is obviously one of the storied names in college baseball, regardless of how last year went for them, or how this year thus far has gone for them”, Aoki said.
Farrell scored 22 points for the 10th-seeded Irish (20-13), who overcame a terrible start in extending their late push to reach the NCAA Tournament.