January 22, 2015
Balanced Notre Dame attack carries Irish past Tech
By Jimmy Robertson
(8) Notre Dame (18-2, 6-1) 384785
Virginia Tech (8-10, 0-5) 283260
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 7,451
  • High Points: 13 - Ahmed Hill
  • High Rebounds: 6 - Satchel Pierce

BLACKSBURG – Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant led a balanced attack, scoring 18 points and the Fighting Irish downed undermanned Virginia Tech 85-60 in an ACC game played Thursday night at Cassell Coliseum.

The loss marked Tech’s sixth straight and left the Hokies at 8-10 overall, 0-5 in ACC play. The Fighting Irish, which beat the Hokies for the fifth straight time, moved to 18-2 overall, 6-1 in the league.

The Hokies played without leading scorer Justin Bibbs (13.6 ppg), who missed his second straight game because of a concussion. Tech coach Buzz Williams wasn’t sure if Bibbs would return for the Hokies’ game Sunday against Virginia. Also, Williams announced in a release sent out before the Notre Dame game that center Joey van Zegeren would not return to the team. Van Zegeren had been suspended. Their absences left the Hokies with just nine players.

Grant shot 6 of 9 from the floor, including two 3-pointers, as the Fighting Irish won their third straight game. Pat Connaughton added 17 points and tied a season high with five 3-pointers on a night when Notre Dame shot 12 of 26 from beyond the 3-point arc.

The 12 3-pointers were the most allowed by the Hokies this season.

“Offensively, they’re just so potent,” Williams said. “It’s hard to figure out where your help can come from. They make you pay based on your decision where you’re going to help.”

Tech only trailed 38-28 at halftime, but Notre Dame broke open the game with a 17-6 run to start the second half. Demetrius Jackson hit two 3-pointers in that run, and a layup by Zach Auguste gave Notre Dame a 55-34 lead with 14:52 remaining. The Irish went on to lead by as many as 29.

Zach Auguste finished with 16 points and Demetrius Jackson had 12 for Notre Dame, which shot 49.2 percent from the floor (29 of 59). The Fighting Irish came into the game ranked second nationally in field-goal percentage (52.8 percent).

“I told Coach [Brey] that they’re as good a team as he has had, in my opinion,” Williams said. “I thought at times in the first half we did OK, but I thought we became offense sensitive in the second half.

“When you playing against a team and you’re constantly taking the ball out of the net, you want to turn it into a scoring contest, and you think your stops will come after you make a basket. That’s not the right way to play, period, but it’s for sure not the right way to play against Notre Dame because they’ll win.”

Ahmed Hill scored 13 points for Tech. Jalen Hudson, making his first career start, added 12 for the Hokies, who shot just 38.7 percent (24 of 62) from the floor and got outrebounded 43-29.

Devin Wilson also was in double figures, scoring 11. He hit 5 of 8 from the floor.

The Hokies now gear up for their in-state rivals, who come to town for a game on Sunday afternoon. Tipoff is slated for 1 p.m.

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