Notre Dame (18-2, 6-1) moved its ACC road record to 3-0 with the greatest of ease Thursday night at Cassell Coliseum.
Seniors Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton combined for 12-of-17 shooting from the field and 7-of-10 from three-point range as the No. 8 Irish took a 10-point lead at halftime and never led by single-digits the rest of the way in their 85-60 victory over Virginia Tech (9-9, 0-5).
Notre Dame’s lead reached 29 points in the final minutes with Grant scoring 18, Connaughton 17 (5-of-6 from three-point range) and Zach Auguste 16. Demetrius Jackson was the fourth Irish player in double figures with 12. Connaughton had a game-high 10 rebounds and Auguste collected eight, including four on the offensive end.
Notre Dame made 12-of-26 from three-point range while out-rebounding the Hokies, 43-31. The Irish limited Virginia Tech – losers of six in a row – to 29.2 percent shooting (7-of-24) from three-point range and 38.7 percent from the field (24-of-62), despite allowing a series of layups in the first half. Virginia Tech converted just 5-of-11 from the free-throw line.
After the Irish took a 38-28 lead into the intermission, it was all Notre Dame in the second half, scoring 47 points after tossing in 46 in the final 20 minutes of Saturday’s victory over Miami. Notre Dame never trailed in the game.
The victory was Notre Dame’s third in a row and 14th out of 15 games. Its 18-2 record is the best start by the Irish since the 1973-74 team opened 24-1 and finished 26-3. The 6-1 start in conference play is the best since 2002-03 – Mike Brey’s third season at Notre Dame.
Virginia Tech played without leading scorer Justin Bibbs (concussion) and 6-foot-10 Joey Van Zegeren (suspension). Ahmed Hill led Virginia Tech with 13 points, Jalen Hudson scored 12 and Devin Wilson added 11.
Notre Dame finished with just six turnovers, including two in the second half. Nineteen of its 29 baskets were assisted.
In addition to his game-high 18 points, Grant had stat-sheet stuffing seven rebounds, six assists, two steals, two blocked shots and three of the team’s six turnovers.
Notre Dame travels to Raleigh, N.C., Sunday for a road tilt with North Carolina State (13-6, 4-2), which was trailing by a point midway through the second half at Miami after leading by seven at the intermission.