Virginia Tech hosted the 20th ranked Fighting Irish Saturday afternoon, needing a win to keep their home winning streak alive. They did not play with enough urgency in the first half, however. The Irish were able to keep the Hokies off the scoreboard for the most part, energizing a 17-0 run and were up by 19. At one point, the Irish were shooting nearly 70% from the field while the Hokies shot under 41%.
The poor start did not doom Virginia Tech. Williams’ side was able to claw back into it, using a 13-2 run of their own and found themselves down by just 8 at half. They even had a late 65-64 lead at one point after a Chris Clarke and-one. But they failed to get stops after made baskets. Notre Dame responded time and time again to the Hokies charges. After a horrid Justin Robinson turnover at midcourt, the Irish finished the game on a 12-6 run to ice it.
The story of the game will be missed free throws. The Hokies failed to take advantage of their opportunities to make Notre Dame pay for fouling, going 10-18 at the charity stripe. It is highly improbably you will beat a top 20 team in the country if you shoot 55% from the line.
Chris Clarke once again led the way for Virginia Tech, but ultimately did not have enough help from his teammates. The Hokies only cashed in on 5-of-18 attempts from three, with Bibbs and Hill missing all five of their combined attempts. The outstanding sophomore finished with 21/9/5.
The Hokies take on Georgia Tech Wednesday night at Cassell Coliseum.