The Irish are winless against the Hoos no more. Notre Dame picked up their first ACC win, a 71-58 victory, against the Hoos in the conference tournament quarterfinals due to cold shooting as Virginia went 39% from the field. Virginia trailed by as many as 10 in the first half, but that ballooned to 17 in the second as the Hoos couldn’t get it done on either end of the court. London Perrantes, Kyle Guy - who combined for 35 points against Pitt last night - went 1-for-17 from the floor in the game. Devon Hall and Darius Thompson led the Hoos in scoring with 12 each. Notre Dame had four players in double digits, led by Bonzie Colson with 21.
“Credit to Notre Dame,” Coach Tony Bennett said post game. “We were outplayed today. We were behind the play - they really moved the ball, were hard to guard.”
Virginia got off to a brutal start, falling behind by ten on several occasions over the first 10 minutes and only kept afloat only by a couple Darius Thompson threes. The Irish, who struggled shooting against the Hoos in South Bend earlier this season in a 17 point loss, came out hot, hitting 9-for 16 (56%) from the field and going 43% from three in the first 12 minutes.
The trio of Perrantes, Guy, and Jerome - who had 15, 20, and 11 against Pitt, respectively - didn’t hit a shot until a Perrantes layup with 3:18 remaining in the half. Thompson led the Hoos in first half scoring with nine points on 3-for-4 shooting from three, Devon Hall added eight, and Jarred Reuter had an important five. Considering they were outperformed from the field, shooting just 39% to Notre Dame’s 52%, the Hoos were only down six - 32-26 - at the half. That was largely due to their 5-for-10 mark beyond the arc (again, Perrantes, Guy, and Jerome were 0-for-3 combined from deep). Inside the three point line? The Hoos went 5-for-16.
Both teams had six turnovers in the first 20 minutes, but Notre Dame was able to capitalize for 11 points while the Hoos only had eight. VJ Beachem, who had just three points in their last meeting, had five first half points and seven rebounds. Bonzie Colson led the Irish with 11 in the first half.
The Irish picked up where they left off with Beachem taking the ball into the lane for an easy layup and a Guy turnover led to a reverse dunk by Rex Pflueger, putting the Hoos back down by 10 at 36-26. Virginia showed some life midway through the half on a couple drives by Marial Shayok, Jerome, and Thompson, but couldn’t get closer than 13 points as Notre Dame put it out of reach.
Now, Virginia will just have to wait to find out their seed for the NCAA tournament. Selection Sunday is this Sunday, March 12. Frankly, the Hoos could use the time off as several players are recovering from illness (Isaiah Wilkins) or tweaks (Marial Shayok). “This maybe is a blessing in disguise if he [Wilkins] can get more rest and recovery because he is such a big part of our energy and help defensively,” said Bennett. The selection show begins at 5:30pm on Sunday.