The Virginia Tech Hokies finally picked up their first ACC win of the season with a 79-73 win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in Blacksburg. The Hokies improve to 9-7 on the season, with a 1-4 record in ACC play.
The Fighting Irish came into the game hot, winners of six in a row and led by eight points at halftime. The fired-up Cassell Coliseum crowd appeared conditioned for another disappointing loss late when Notre Dame forward Paul Atkinson scored with around 15 minutes remaining in the game to give the Irish a comfortable 10-point lead.
The Hokies roared back, when guards Nahiem Alleyne and Storm Murphy each hit 3-point baskets, and Tech scored again, to cut Notre Dame’s lead to two points.
The Irish maintained their lead, and were up five points when the Hokies went on another run, scoring nine consecutive points to take a 66-62 lead. The Hokies would end up on a 14-3 run and led 71-65 late. Notre Dame didn’t quit, tying the game at 71 with around two minutes remaining.
With around 45 seconds remaining and up two points, Murphy drilled another three, giving the Hokies a decisive five-point lead en route to their first ACC win.
This was such a critical win for Virginia Tech. Second-half swoons cost the Hokies in games against Duke, N.C. State and Virginia. However, this time around, the Hokies played a dominant second half, shooting almost 70% from the floor in the final 20 minutes, while Notre Dame shot less than 40%.
Alleyne, who has struggled badly recently, had a big game in leading the Hokies to the win. He scored 22 points and Mutts led all scores with 24 points. Alleyned shot eight of 10 from the field, including four of five from beyond the arc.
Murphy scored 12 points, all coming on three-point baskets. Keve Aluma scored 17 points and pulled down eight rebounds for the Hokies.
Virginia Tech is back on the road Wednesday for a rematch with N.C. State.
It was a good night in Blacksburg.