21-game home winning streak for Miami? Not anymore.
15-game home winning streak for Virginia Tech? Busted.
The Irish pulled another one out late in a 76-71 win in Blacksburg, and sit alone in first place in the ACC at 5-0. Now the “Road Dawgs” can get greedy and try to sweep the daunting three-game road trip with a win over Florida State on Wednesday. Regardless of the FSU result, two wins on this trip is an excellent, excellent trip.
Just another gutty win by Notre Dame. In honor of Stove’s game-high 20 points, here are the 20 takeaways from the W.
1. Let’s start with the Farrell play. Up three with VT rolling the ball up the floor, he completely faked out Justin Robinson by looking towards Brey and acting like he was getting an instruction.
Nope. Just more of that “Basketball IQ” that Brey raves about when talking about Farrell. Then, the dish to Gibbs was just as pretty to put the Irish up five. What a player.
2. It looked like the Irish were going to keep us from grabbing our heart medication when they went back up by 14 (after leading by 19 in the first half) at 54-40. A subsequent 19-5 run tied the game with just under six minutes to play. The Hokies took the lead at 67-66 with under two to play on a Chris Clarke free throw, but then Farrell took over.
First, a drive and a finish over Robinson to give the Irish the 68-67 lead.
Second, after a Seth Allen travel, a baseline drive and dish to Beach for a clutch floater (with a hell of a bounce) to put ND up 70-67.
Third, the above steal and dish to Gibbs to make it 72-67 with 41 seconds to play.
The guy has some serious stones.
3. Stove’s triple to give the Irish a 62-59 lead after the Hokie run was enormous. Dude is just so steady, and hardly gets any love nationally. Like Brey always says, the ACC coaches know how good he is. Jay Bilas knows how good he is.
4. The Irish shot 52% from the floor, 39% from deep. The fatigue was evident though, as they only shot 65% (13-20) from the line. Bonz uncharacteristically missed two big ones late. Down the stretch, Farrell, Stove and Rex all went 1-2 as the Irish tried to close it out.
5. A key play to the game happened with Farrell at the line looking to ice it with 28 seconds left and the Irish up three. He made the first FT. Buzz subs out Chris Clarke (who finished with 21 points and 9 rebounds) and puts in Ahmed Hill (who finished with 2 points). Farrell misses the free throw badly, and Hill inexplicably misses the rebound. Farrell gets the rebound with no other Irish players down low. Crazy sequence.
6. Tough game for the Hokies who wear shirts under their jerseys. For years, I have been a proponent of the Shirt Rule in college basketball. There are various parts to the Shirt Rule, which I can get into some other time. For brevity’s sake…if you wear a shirt under your jersey, you stink in big time situations.
Hill came into the game leading VT in scoring. He was 1-5, 2 points, and failed to grab the rebound discussed above.
Justin Bibbs…well, he went 2-8, 4 points, and missed a key 1-and-1 with the game tied late.
The Shirt Rule is real.
7. Speaking of the Shirt Rule, it drove me nuts that Torres went to the shirt under his jersey today after performing so well at Miami. He was solid again, though. 4 points, 3 rebounds in 9 minutes.
8. T.J. Gibbs was a man today. ND led by seven after the first TV timeout, then Gibbs scored on three consecutive possessions by taking it to the rim with reckless abandon, to extend the lead to 13 at 52-39. Gibbs finished with 13 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in 17 minutes. He’s going to be a stud.
9. Double-double #11 for Bonz. 14 points, 12 rebounds. In the 5-0 ACC start, he’s averaging 14.8 points and 12.6 rebounds. Keep it going, Bonz.
10. Beach struggled (4 points on 2-8 shooting), but hit the big floater to extend the lead to three late. He was 0-4 from deep and missed some of them badly. They’ll need him on Wednesday in Tallahassee.
11. ND has not worn the green jerseys since the loss to Villanova (they wore white in the Purdue loss). Brey is incredibly superstitious, so don’t expect to see the greens until they lose on the road.
12. Obviously, Rex is known for his defense, and rightfully so. However, the work he put in over the summer on his shot is evident. He hit two more triples today, and is now 42.9% from deep on the year. Gibbs and Rex had 20 off the bench.
13. Stove was 3-4 from behind the arc, and now is shooting 44.2% from deep. Showing no signs of wearing down like he did last year.
14. Tom Noie wrote a good article on Matt Ryan earlier in the week, and it looks like he just doesn’t have a role right now. He played four first half minutes, but didn’t get any run in the second half for what seems to be the third or fourth straight game. No shots, one rebound for the Rifleman.
15. I sarcastically tweeted after the game that the pollsters may move ND up from 20 to 18 this week. I’ll have the Irish probably at 10 or 11 in tomorrow’s 1-68. For whatever reason, they just don’t get much respect in the polls. The good thing…polls mean absolutely nothing.
16. Notre Dame is the only ACC team with three road wins. What’s even more impressive is that more than half of the ACC has less than three wins…total.
17. The Irish looked fantastic jumping out to a 33-14 lead, and even though they blew that lead, I’m convinced that they don’t win this game without the hot start.
18. Brey went without the suit jacket for the entire second half. Maybe it was warm in there…or maybe he knew a Hokie run was coming and his jacket might end up in the stands.
19. Brey loves to tell his team postgame that they got a kill (stops on three consecutive possessions) down the stretch, even if they don’t actually get it (see Clemson). In this one, they actually got it. After Clarke’s three-point play to put VT up 67-66, Allen walked (1), Farrell’s steal (2), and an offensive foul on Bibbs (3).
20. The Irish look for a perfect road trip in what is sure to be a Top 15 showdown. Of course, it isn’t televised nationally. Instead, look what the ESPN family of networks is showing. Woof.