BLACKSBURG, Va. — Matt Farrell’s game-changing steal and assist with under a minute to go sealed a 76-71 victory for No. 20 Notre Dame (16-2, 5-0 ACC) on the road against Virginia Tech (13-4, 2-3) Saturday afternoon.
Steve Vasturia led the Irish with 20 points, while Farrell and Bonzie Colson added 14 each to help the Irish recover after blowing what was a 19-point first half lead.
The Irish stormed out of the gates to a 33-14 lead, but scored just six points in the final 7:48 of the first half as Virginia Tech closed the gap to 39-31 at halftime.
The Hokies then used a three-point play by Chris Clarke to complete the comeback and take a 67-66 lead with 1:52 remaining in the game.
V.J. Beachem hit a jump shot to give Notre Dame a 70-67 lead with 49 seconds to go, setting the table for Farrel’s steal on the ensuing in-bound play.
Virginia Tech attempted to roll the ball up the floor to avoid the clock running, but the ball rolled all the way to half-court, where Farrell dove on it for a steal. After the opposing players fell down, Farrell drove all the way to the basket before dishing to T.J. Gibbs for a layup, putting the game out of reach.
Virginia Tech came into the contest riding a 15-game home winning streak, dating back to last season. It was the first sell-out for the Hokies since their victory over then-No. 5 Duke a few weeks ago.
The victory, paired with Florida State’s loss at North Carolina, leaves Notre Dame as the only remaining unbeaten team in ACC play and with sole possession of first place in the conference standings at 5-0. The Irish will travel to Tallahassee on Wednesday night to battle FSU, who was ranked No. 9 before today’s loss.