SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — T.J. Gibbs scored 22 points in what could have been his final home game as Notre Dame closed out the regular season Saturday with a 64-56 victory over Virginia Tech in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Gibbs, one of three departing players who were saluted before the Purcell Pavilion fans, hit 7 of 12 shots, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range.
Reserve Dane Goodwin added 13 points and nine rebounds the Fighting Irish (19-12, 10-10 ACC) who got 12 rebounds from double-double machine John Mooney but just seven points. The 6-foot-9 senior forward entered the game leading the nation in double-doubles with 25. Grad student Rex Pflueger had seven points.
P.J. Horne scored 14 points and Hunter Cattoor 12 to lead Virginia Tech (16-15, 7-13).
The Fighting Irish would have to win next week’s ACC tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina, to receive an NCAA bid but could receive one from the National Invitation Tournament and perhaps be a host to allow Gibbs, Mooney and Pflueger another home game.
Meeting Virginia Tech for the first time this season, Notre Dame took a 28-17 halftime lead behind 15 points from Gibbs. The senior hit 4 of 5 3-pointers and added three free throws after being fouled on another 3-point attempt.
Virginia Tech had scoring droughts of nearly-nine minutes and three-plus minutes as the Irish pulled away with Gibbs and Prentiss Hubb hitting 3-pointers to give the Irish their largest lead of the half at 28-15 before Horne beat the first-half horn with a jumper.
Nahiem Alleyne made two free throws and then a layup to trim Virginia Tech’s deficit to 33-28 with 16:36 to play but the Hokies got no closer. Hubb set up Juwan Durham and Nate Laszewski for dunks in a 27-second span and Goodwin added a short jumper to make it 47-32 midway through the second half.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies shot just 21% (6 of 28) in the first half after shooting 54% in their 70-58 victory over Clemson on Wednesday that ended a four-game losing streak.
Notre Dame: Mooney was held scoreless in the first half, extending a scoreless string of 42 minutes going back to the first half of Wednesday’s 73-71 loss to No. 7 Florida State. He finally broke the string at 52:32 when Hubb set him up for a 3-pointer for a 50-35 Irish lead.