Notre Dame Basketball: Takeaways from Irish loss to Virginia Tech

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Notre Dame basketball dropped yet another close game in a loss to Virginia Tech, bringing the string of consecutive losses up to five.

In a game which Notre Dame basketball desperately needed to win, the Irish couldn’t finish the job. The Fighting Irish loss to Virginia Tech 80-75 for their fifth straight loss. It took all Notre Dame had to get themselves back into a game that Virginia Tech had control of for so long.

The Irish were able to inch their way back into the game with enough momentum that might have led to an Irish victory. Instead, it was the Hokies that made the right plays at the right time to overtake the Irish. Here’s the bad and the good from Notre Dame’s contest against Virginia Tech.

The Bad: 2-3 zone

With lineup changes the Irish have had to deal with, the 2-3 zone seemed to fit. In previous contest, the zone was a game changer. Against Virginia Tech it was almost a game killer in the first half.

Keep in mind it seemed like the Hokies were going to hit almost any shot they threw up. At times it didn’t matter how you guarded VT as they finished the first half shooting 47% from beyond the arc. Still, it seemed like Notre Dame’s 2-3 zone was being exposed. Too many times the Irish would be lost on a switch or had their spacing off. Virginia Tech had no problem creating opportunities for themselves.

The Good: John Mooney

Mooney is a player that has needed to step up in the absence of Bonzie Colson. In the first half, he showed that he’s ready for the challenge. The forward was key in spacing out the court.

At times Mooney’s defense seemed sub par. Yet his offensive rhythm finally caught up with him. It was nothing flashy in the first half but it was exactly what Notre Dame needed from him. Seven first-half points with a three-pointer created another asset for Virginia Tech to have to focus on. Even more impressive than that was his presence on the boards with eight first-half rebounds. When Martinas Geben struggled, it was Mooney who elevated his game.

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The Bad: Martinas Geben

Virginia Tech is a good team, not a great team. Yet they were able to completely shut down Geben. It wasn’t until late in the game before Geben could finally put up some numbers. For the most part, he was not a force in the paint in this game.

For a player averaging a double-double in ACC play, Geben did not step up to the plate in this one. It took until Notre Dame to really start clicking and the Purcell Pavilion to erupt for Geben to make some big plays. Taking a charge with less than five minutes left to play was one of his biggest contributions for the Irish. Six points and five rebounds was not the performance Notre Dame needed from their big man.

The Good: Temple Gibbs

It was a slow first half for Gibbs yet he still led the Irish in scoring going into the locker room thanks to a half-court heave at the buzzer.

Whatever head coach Mike Brey told him at the half, worked. It was the Gibbs that we love to watch. The electric player who will burn you on a quick dribble move to the basket, then set you up once again and pull up from beyond the arc.

You have to credit the guard. When it was time for him to take the game into his own hands, he answered the call. It wasn’t a great game from Gibbs considering the slow first half, but the second half was a great performance. Finishing with 27 points Gibbs looked like a highlight player. He showed exactly why the future of Notre Dame is in good hands. On the defensive end, he seemed to be everywhere as well. Three blocks and five steals helped the sophomore put together a pretty good stat line.

Up Next:

Notre Dame is in for arguably their toughest challenge yet. The Irish will head to Cameron Indoor to take on No. 4 Duke Monday, January 29th at 7 PM ET. The Blue Devils are coming off of a home loss to No. 2 Virginia while Notre Dame will be playing again without Bonzie Colson, Matt Farrell and D.J. Harvey.