The Virginia Tech Hokies dropped their regular season finale at Notre Dame on Saturday by a score of 64-56. The loss drops the Hokies to 16-15 on the regular season and 7-13 in ACC play.
The Hokies trailed 28-17 at halftime after an abysmal first half. Fortunately for Tech, things improved in the second half, as the Hokies had an early rally in the first four minutes to cut Notre Dame’s lead to 33-28.
That was as close as Virginia Tech would get for the remainder of the game.
Notre Dame guard T.J. Gibbs scored 22 points and connected on five three-point buckets. John Mooney scored just seven points for the Fighting Irish, but did pull down 13 rebounds. Dane Goodwin scored 13 points and had nine rebounds for the Irish.
P.J. Horne paced the Hokies with 14 points, while freshman guard Hunter Cattoor chipped in with 12 points. With all due respect to both Horne and Cattoor, the Hokies aren’t going to win many games if those two are the leading scorers.
Tech needs big games from Landers Nolley, Tyrece Radford and Jalen Cone, in particular. That triumvirate combined for 15 points, combining to shoot seven of 28 from the field, including an abysmal one for 12 from beyond the arc. As a team. Tech did hit 10 threes, thanks to four each from Horne and Cattoor. The Hokies shot 36 percent from the field and 31 percent from three-point range.
Unfortunately, performances like these have become all too familiar for Hokie fans since mid-January. If the threes aren’t falling, this team cannot stay competitive. The size disadvantage against most teams is just too much to overcome.
At one time this season, the Hokies were 13-4, yet lost 11 of their final 14 games. Head coach Mike Young did a good job during his first season in Blacksburg, considering what he inherited. This team has skill and will get a strong recruiting class next year to continue Young’s rebuilding job.
Next up for the Hokies is North Carolina. The Hokies enter the ACC Tournament as the No. 11 seed, while the Tar Heels are the No. 14 seed. And while Tech won the only meeting during the regular season, the Heels have played much better down the stretch and have to be considered the favorites when these teams meet on Tuesday in Greensboro.