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The Journal Gazette

  • Notre Dame's Martinas Geben (23) grabs a rebound next to Virginia Tech's Kerry Blackshear Jr. (24) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)

  • Notre Dame's T.J. Gibbs (10) puts body English on a half-court shot just before halftime during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Virginia Tech, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)

  • Notre Dame's T.J. Gibbs (10) passes around Virginia Tech's Nickeil Alexander-Walker (4) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)

  • Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey tosses his coat during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Virginia Tech Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)

  • Notre Dame's John Mooney (33) grabs a rebound next to Virginia Tech's Kerry Blackshear Jr. (24) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)

  • Notre Dame's Rex Pflueger (0) drives in next to Virginia Tech's Ahmed Hill (13) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)

Saturday, January 27, 2018 11:10 pm

Virginia Tech 80, Notre Dame 75

Irish fall in final seconds to Hokies

ANTHONY ANDERSON | Associated Press

SOUTH BEND – Chris Clarke scored six straight points in the final 23 seconds as Virginia Tech fought off a ferocious charge by Notre Dame for an 80-75 Atlantic Coast Conference road victory Saturday night.

Justin Bibbs scored 20 points on 8-of-10 field-goal shooting with four 3-pointers, and Clarke added 12 points and 14 rebounds, as the Hokies (15-6, 4-4) backed up their 11-point victory over No. 10 North Carolina earlier in the week.

T.J. Gibbs poured in a career-high 27 points for the Irish (13-8, 3-5), who lost a fifth straight game for the first time in nine years. John Mooney added a career-high 15 points and 11 rebounds. Rex Pflueger also scored 15.

Notre Dame trailed 62-47 with 11 minutes to go, but closed to two points on three occasions down the stretch in front of a stoked home crowd.

The last was at 74-72, but Clarke got a tip-in with 23 seconds left, converted both ends of a one-and-one at 16 seconds and, for emphasis, had a breakaway slam dunk to clinch it at seven seconds.

Nikola Djogo missed a 3-pointer at 51 seconds that could've given the Irish their first lead since 9-8. Pflueger hit a 3 as the clock ran out.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia Tech: Tech bumped up its NCAA Tournament chances, though it is still January. Per an ESPN BPI index, the Hokies have a 60 percent chance to make the field. If they'd lost, they would've been down to 37 percent.

Notre Dame: Once sailing at 13-3 overall, 3-0 in the ACC, with a Maui Invitational title tucked away, the injury-plagued Irish have become a bubble team at best with all their fallen players. Per that same index, they dropped to 44 percent with their latest loss. A win would have elevated them to 71 percent.

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech: The Hokies head to Boston College on Wednesday in another battle of teams scrapping for NCAA Tourney consideration.

Notre Dame: It's a rapid turnaround for the Irish as they visit No. 4 Duke on Monday, the first of three Saturday/Monday scenarios that each involve travel for ND over four weeks.