In Grant Basile’s second straight 33-point game, Virginia Tech couldn’t seem to miss on the offensive end in its 93-87 victory at Notre Dame. The Hokies shot 57% from the floor en route to their first road win of the season.
Basile became the first Tech player to have back-to-back 30-point games since Bryant Matthews did so in 2003. And though he only had five points at halftime, he finished 13-of-19 from the floor, setting a new program record for most made field goals in an ACC contest.
Over a span of 7:25 in the second half, Virginia Tech (15-10, 5-9 ACC) made 10 straight shots, seven of which were from Basile. Three of the other four starters scored in double figures to complement Basile, headlined by Justyn Mutts. The veteran forward finished with 19 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. Sean Pedulla and MJ Collins each added 12 while Hunter Cattoor contributed six.
On top of that, the Hokies posted 42 points in the paint, the most since they scored 46 a month prior in a loss at Syracuse.
“We had a couple of goals going in,” associate head coach Mike Jones said on the Virginia Tech Sports Network after the win. “One of them was to get a lot of points in the paint. 35 was our goal, we got 42. We beat them on the glass and we made shots tonight, which was awesome to see.”
However, Notre Dame (10-15, 2-12 ACC) also scored at a high rate. Nate Laszewski led the way with 33 points (12-of-17, 6-of-9 3FG), which matched Basile. Between the two big men, they were a combined 25-of-36 (69%) from the floor, 9-of-16 (51%) from behind the arc for 66 points.
The last time a Hokie and an opponent each scored 30 points and met that 66-point threshold was March 18, 2009 when A.D. Vassallo (33 points) and Duquesne’s Aaron Jackson (46) did so in a double-overtime thriller.
“He’s even-keeled,” Jones said of Basile. “He doesn’t get too high, doesn’t get too low. He missed a couple shots in the first half, but it didn’t deter him from taking a couple of open ones in the second half.”
However, the Irish didn’t help Laszewski as much as the Hokies did with Basile. Only Cormac Ryan (17 points, 5-of-9 3FG) and Ven-Allen Lubin (11 points) scored in double figures. Tech did an excellent job guarding Dane Goodwin (five points) and JJ Starling (nine).
Laszewski and Ryan were lethal from outside, helping ND knock down 13-of-30 attempts, the most Tech’s allowed in a game all year. In Wednesday’s loss to Boston College, the Eagles made 12 treys. Opponents are 25-of-54 (46%) from three in the last two contests.
Virginia Tech hasn’t been great on the defensive end as of late, and that was the case again on Saturday in South Bend. For the fifth time in the last six outings, Tech allowed an opponent to shoot above 45% from the floor. As Basile said in an interview with RSN afterwards, “that’s just too many points to give up.”
Yet, unlike the trip to Coral Gables where Miami made 58% of its shots and was propelled by Nijel Pack, the Hokies answered the bell on the other end of the floor.
They made 15 of their final 19 shots in the game against an Irish defense that has seen its share of struggles this season. And they only turned the ball over five times for the second consecutive game. Pedulla finished with five dimes and no miscues.
“He took care of the ball, he ran our team,” Jones said of Pedulla. “He didn’t take any bad shots, he didn’t take any quick shots. … He’s been so effective offensively that he’s trying to pick his spots, and he did a great job of that tonight.”
On top of that, Virginia Tech shot 25 free throws, its highest mark of the season. It made 20 of them, too, and was 14-of-17 from the line in the second half.
In a game that came down to the wire, the Hokies led the majority of the way. There were five ties and five lead changes, but Tech only trailed for 29 seconds in the second half.
The Hokies, winners of four of their last six, now turn their attention to Georgia Tech. They travel to Atlanta on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. tip on the ACC Network. VT has won the last two in the series under Mike Young’s watch and eight of the last 10 overall.
Box Score: Link