SOUTH BEND, Ind. – A big second half for freshman Devin Wilson and an exciting return for redshirt-senior Cadarian Raines weren’t enough for the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team as it fell to Notre Dame, 70-63, in the Purcell Pavilion on Sunday night. Wilson and Raines set new career highs as they paced the Hokies with 20 points apiece.
Redshirt sophomore Joey van Zegeren began the game with three blocks in the opening three minutes as play remained back-and-forth for the opening five. Notre Dame (11-7, 2-3 ACC) went on an 8-0 run following the first media timeout and was able to maintain the distance until Raines checked in for the Hokies (8-9, 1-4 ACC) with 9:32 left in the first half. He quickly went to work, scoring nine points in his first five minutes of action over the last three games.
Seven straight points from Raines got the Hokies back to within three as they trailed 21-18 with 6:15 left before the break, but they were unable to score a field goal in the closing four minutes of the half and allowed the Irish to take a commanding 39-24 lead into the half.
Tech quickly shifted the momentum out of the locker room, starting the second stanza with a 9-3 run. Wilson, who had just two points in the first half, quickly scored six in the first four and a half minutes of the second, making it 44-37 and forcing a Notre Dame timeout.
Five straight points from Raines at the first media timeout got Tech within four points, but the Irish were able to pull away again following the stop in play.
A 7-0 run for Tech got the Hokies within two points with 9:55 to play, but back-to-back threes for the Irish quickly reestablished some distance. Tech was able to get back within five points on two occasions, but that was as close as it got.
Wilson matched his previous career high in the second half alone and also added seven assists in the game, while van Zegeren blocked a career high six shots. Tech outrebounded the Irish 35-30 and Raines led the way with six. C.J. Barksdale put up 12 points for Tech, reaching double figures for the third time in the last four games. The Hokies played without starting guard Ben Emelogu, who missed the game due to a sprained right ankle, suffered in practice on Friday.
Pat Connaughton led the Irish with 21 points and eight rebounds. Demetrius Jackson and Eric Atkins added 13 and 12 points, respectively.
The Hokies will return to action and Cassell Coliseum on Wednesday, Jan. 22 to host Wake Forest at 7 p.m.
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