Notre Dame Basketball: Irish character defined once again

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The loss was a low point in the season as the Duke faithful chanted NIT to the Irish as Duke pulled away in the end.

Virginia Tech fell to Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament Wednesday night, 71-65.

"How about that, huh?" Rightfully so. I thought we had done a good job up until that point through the first 25 minutes.

Farrell scored 22 points for the 10th-seeded Irish (20-13), who overcame a awful start in extending their late push to reach the NCAA Tournament.

Hard to say - but they sure woke up the echoes on this snowy night in Brooklyn. "When I have my guys back, we're a top-20 team, and I think people on that committee know that".

"I feel like our younger position players are doing really, a pretty good job".

"If you take out the first three conference games, we've played as well as anybody on the defensive end in the conference".

The Fighting Irish scored 50 points on 12-of-21 shooting in the second half.

"I don't know if I've ever been prouder of a team in a game that really matters", Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "Right now, we're looking at what we did wrong and how we're going to fix it moving forward". And then, as Tech coach Buzz Williams put it, "we disintegrated".

Justin Robinson and Justin Bibbs each scored 15 for the Hokies. "Just completely fell apart the last 15 minutes defensively". Notre Dame was almost automatic with their free throws, only missing one free throw in the last three minutes. With the shot clock expiring and him on the wing, he launched a three-pointer that banked in for a 60-59 lead, the Irish's first since 15-13. Ball security should be an advantage for the Fighting Irish. "Those are the shots that you've got to hit during those times".

Notre Dame offensively started to click as their shooting improved. "Hopefully we take positives and negatives from this and just move on from it".

"I haven't really had the opportunity to think about that", sophomore forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. said. "He's been a brother to me for my four years here".

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Farrell finished with 22 points, Rex Pflueger 14 points, T.J. Gibbs 13 points and Colson 12 points for Notre Dame, which shot 57 percent in the second half and was 19-for-23 on the free-throw line after the intermission. "And tonight you saw it".

Guards Justin Bibbs and Justin Robinson tallied a team-high 15 points apiece and forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. nearly posted a double-double with nine points and eight rebounds.

The Fighting Irish had a tussle to defeat last-place Pittsburgh on Tuesday and they started slow the next night.

Another ACC team that set itself up for a win-and-in situation on Thursday was Louisville, which got out to a big lead against Florida State and held off a second-half run to win 82-74.

So how will the Irish be judged: Are they the entire body of the work for the season?

Duke's opponent in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament will be Notre Dame. Still, this was a very disappointing way to make a postseason exit.

With the loss, the Hokies are eliminated from the ACC Tournament, but will receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament this weekend.

Matt Farrell, who also missed five games with an ankle injury while Colson was sidelined, scored 18 for the Irish.

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish lost 80-75 to Virginia Tech in South Bend, Indiana, without Colson and Farrell in late January.

Notre Dame's bench combined for two points (both from senior big man Austin Torres) which will need to change this evening to upset Duke.

No. 7 Virginia Tech vs. Tuesday 2 p.m. victor (ESPN2/ACC Network), 7 p.m.