CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – With eight minutes left in regulation, Notre Dame (13-12, 3-9 ACC) trailed No. 4/4 Virginia (22-2, 10-2 ACC) by just one point. However, the Cavaliers proved worthy of their ranking and made just enough plays down the stretch to escape with a 60-54 win on Saturday afternoon.
Junior T.J. Gibbs led the Irish on the offensive end with 17 points. Junior John Mooney posted his ACC-best 16th double-double on the year with 11 points and 15 rebounds while sophomore D.J. Harvey added 10 points.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Irish nearly battled the Cavaliers to a standstill over the opening 20 minutes of action, as the hosts held a narrow lead of 29-25 at the half. Gibbs and Harvey did the heavy lifting for Notre Dame on the offensive end, each scoring 10 points. The Irish defense limited Virginia to 38-percent shooting (11-of-29) in the first frame.
The two sides continued to exchange blows in the second half before the Irish cut the host’s lead to just one point with eight minutes to go in regulation. The Cavaliers answered with a 9-0 run to increase their advantage to 54-44 with 4:54 left in regulation.
After the game looked to be in hand for Virginia the Irish went on a furious run down the stretch and nearly tied the game. The Irish rattled off eight straight points and nearly forced a turnover down two with under 30 seconds to go. The Cavaliers managed to draw a foul and connect on their final six free throws to close out the 60-54 victory.
NOTRE DAME PLAYER OF THE GAME
Gibbs turned in his second straight impressive showing on Saturday, following up his season-high 20-point outburst against Georgia Tech with a team-high 17 at Virginia. Gibbs also dished out three assists, had two steals and a block in the contest.
NOTRE DAME STAT OF THE GAME
Notre Dame frustrated the Cavaliers with its defense over the 40 minutes of action, holding Virginia to 19-of-52 from the floor for a shooting percentage of just 36.5. The Irish did not allow the hosts to find a rhythm beyond the arc, limiting UVA to 34.8 percent shooting (8-of-23) from three-point range. The Irish defense allowed the team to make a late rally, holding the Cavaliers without a field goal over the last 6:40 of the game.
NOTES OF THE GAME
· Mooney completed his ACC-best 16th double-double of the season and the 17th of his career with an 11-point, 15-rebound performance.
· Mooney finished with 15 rebounds, which marks the 18th time he has tallied at least 10 boards this year.
· Harvey finished with 10-plus points for the 15th time this season, scoring 10 on the afternoon.
· Gibbs scored 10 or more points for the 18th time during his junior campaign, finishing with 17 points against Virginia.
Notre Dame returns to Purcell Pavilion for a midweek matchup against Wake Forest at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Feb. 19. The game will air on ESPNU.
To purchase tickets Notre Dame men’s basketball tickets visit UND.com/BuyTickets.
— ND —