After a week off, the Virginia Tech men's basketball entered their game Saturday night at Notre Dame looking to end a two-game losing streak and get back into the conversation for the NCAA Tournament next month. Instead of taking a step in the right direction, the Hokies took several major steps backward.
Virginia Tech struggled in the second half for the second consecutive game and the more troubling trend was their lack of defense against an Irish team that scored 35 points in the first half and a whopping 39 more in the second half. The win broke a six-game losing streak for Notre Dame as they improved to 8-16 overall and 3-10 in the ACC. The Hokies fall to 13-10 and 5-7 in the ACC. After this loss, Virginia Tech is now playing for a berth in the NIT and I'm not sure that they might have enough to get into that postseason tournament.
Leading 39-35 at halftime, Virginia Tech allowed a 9-0 Notre Dame run to begin the second half and the two teams battled back and fourth until the Irish took control of the game with a 9-0 run for a 60-51 lead. They never let the Hokies back into the game and extended the visitors struggles for a third straight game.
Hunter Cattoor led Virginia Tech with 18 points and Myylyjael Poteat had 14 points and six rebounds off the bench. Sean Pedulla had 13 points, but turned the ball over six times. Tyler Nickel (nine points) and Robbie Beran (eight points) came close to finishing in double figures.
Virginia Tech returns home to host Florida State Tuesday night after two weeks away from Cassell Coliseum. A three-game losing streak highlighted by a pair of second-half defensive struggles has put their season in danger of spiraling out of control fast over the final eight conference games. This loss is rock-bottom in 2023-24 for Mike Young's team.