Brooklyn, NY - Behind 22 points from Matt Farrell and a furious second half rally, Notre Dame came from 21 points down to beat Virginia Tech 71-65 during the second round of the ACC tournament.
The Hokies built a 13 point halftime lead thanks in part to 10 first half points from Justin Robinson and 9 more from Chris Clarke. The Hokie defense also limited the Irish to just 25% shooting from the floor.
"I thought we were really good defensively in the first half, other than their seven offensive rebounds" said Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams.
Tech scored 4 quick points to open the second half which led to a Notre Dame timeout at the 18:37 mark. From that point on, the Irish outscored the Hokies 50-27 including one run of 40-12 in their comeback.
"We didn't guard the ball, they (Notre Dame) forced help, made some threes" said Williams. "We just completely fell apart the last 15 minutes defensively."
"We pride ourselves on defense, we can play with anybody" added Justin Bibbs who scored 15 points against the Irish. "But when we run from it and do our own thing, it's not going to work."
"I've never been prouder of a group because they were thumping us pretty good" said Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey. "All the stuff they've been through, they're just tough dudes."
The 13 point halftime deficit was the third largest overcome in ACC tournament history.
The win improves the Irish to 20-13 overall, and strengthens their case for an NCAA at large bid. Virginia Tech falls to 21-11, but by most observations has already done enough to extend their season into March Madness. That was of little comfort in the Hokie locker room Wednesday night.
"It's a learning experience" said Justin Robinson who also scored 15. "Hopefully we take positives and negatives from this and just move on from it."