Robby Hamman | January 16, 2017
Notre Dame (16-2, 5-0 ACC) continues to find ways to win in the ACC. The Irish got crucial plays from V.J. Beachem and Matt Farrell in the game's final minute to go along with Steve Vasturia's team-high 20 points en route to a huge 76-71 win over Viriginia Tech (13-4, 2-3 ACC) on the road.
The Irish are an undefeated 5-0 in the ACC and winners of seven straight contests. The 5-0 conference start is the best in Notre Dame program history, regardless of league. With Florida State's loss at North Carolina on Saturday, the Irish are now in sole possession of first place in the ACC standings. The win also snaps Virginia Tech's 15-game home winning streak just two days after the team ended Miami's 21-game winning streak.
Vasturia paced the Irish with 20 points, going 8-of-14 from the field. Farrell and Colson each added 14 points and freshman guard T.J. Gibbs scored a career-high 13 points in the victory to keep Notre Dame's unbeaten ACC record intact.
The Irish and Hokies played a fairly even opening eight minutes of the first half on Saturday, as Notre Dame held a two-point lead at 14-12 early. The Irish then went on a tear, scoring 17 unanswered points to open up a 19-point cushion at 33-14 with 7:41 remaining in the half. Virginia Tech managed to fight its way back into the game by outscoring the Irish 17-6 to close out the half, trimming the Notre Dame lead to 39-31 at the halftime break.
Virginia Tech quickly cut the Irish lead to five points early in the second half but Notre Dame responded with a 10-2 run to push its advantage to 13 points with 14:28 left in regulation. After a Vasturia layup increased the lead to 14 points, the Hokies offense got hot and the hosts went on a 19-5 run to tie the game at 59-59 with over six minutes remaining.
The Hokies took their first lead of the second half off a Chris Clarke free throw with 1:52 left on the clock, setting up the dramatic finish. On the next possession Farrell finished at the rim to allow the Irish to regain the lead. After a defensive stop Beachem made a clutch jumper to increase the lead to three points at 70-67 with 49 seconds left.