The Hokies led most of the way, but Notre Dame was able to engineer a late run to catapult themselves to an 83-81 win. Seth Allen had a chance to steal one on the road, but his pull-up three pointer rimmed out as time expired. LeDay and Allen tallied 22 and 20 respectively in the scoring column, which led the way for Virginia Tech. With the loss, the Hokies fall to 4-2 in ACC play and Notre Dame improves to 4-2 and 13-5 overall.
1. After going into the locker room with a solid 8-point advantage, the Hokies didn't show enough toughness to deliver a knock-out punch to the Fighting Irish. This Hokies squad certainly has more talent than years' past. However, this game showed they're not quite there yet in terms of having the ability to match up well with teams on personnel alone. Notre Dame was able to get to the rim too easily off the bounce for easy layups.
2. Seth Allen has been excellent during conference play so far, but he has a habit of forcing plays that aren't there. Sometimes it works, like his miraculous switcheroo layup of the window in the first half. But sometimes it's to the detriment of his team, like his unnecessary drive to the basket after a Notre Dame FG when the paint was so crowded, you couldn't even find Waldo in there. However, he had a game-high 8 assists. Consistency, Seth, consistency.
3. One of the reasons the Hokies couldn't hold on to their lead was their inability to rebound. There was no one boxing out, or even putting up a fight for contested boards. It's hard to win games win you surrender 10 offensive rebounds. Giving good teams second chances only leads to trouble. It's been a problem for a few games now, which is worrisome. The Hokies need to figure out a way to correct their performance on a defensive glass, and I'm not sure the answer is as easy as "more effort".
4. Foul trouble once again hurt the Hokies. When Buzz has to rotate multiple guys who are in foul trouble, it never lets the team get into a rhythm. LeDay, Blackshear, and Henry all finished with four or more fouls. They also didn't foul with conviction. Notre Dame was able to get and-one after and-one due to soft fouls, none more important than Auguste's dunk which gave Notre Dame a two possession lead they wouldn't concede.
5. It's clear that the Hokies are turning a corner. Competing with a team like Notre Dame on the road was something they haven't been able to do in years. I like the guts and confidence of Buzz to not call a timeout on the last possession for the Hokies, letting Seth Allen pull up in transition. I think that's a reflection of the team. They play with guts and confidence, no matter what the scoreboard looks like. Expect that same, fiery demeanor when the Hokies host #2 UNC on Sunday at Cassell.