Jan. 20, 2016
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Zach Auguste saw a need to take charge Wednesday night and did so offensively, defensively – and vocally.
Auguste scored 22 points and grabbed a career-high 15 as Notre Dame rallied to edge Virginia Tech 83-81 on Wednesday night.
”I wanted to personally lead by example, be that senior leader,” said Auguste, who had 14 points and nine rebounds in the second half for the Fighting Irish (13-5, 4-2 ACC). ”I wanted to get to the glass and make sure I did everything I can to control the tempo on the backboard.”
”He wanted it for his team,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. ”He went off the backboard to do it.”
The 6-foot-10 senior also gave the Irish a lift as a vocal leader.
”I like how he’s led,” Brey said. ”He’s taken responsibility. He was great (speaking to his teammates in the locker room) at halftime. It was a frustrating halftime.”
Auguste explained the reason the rebounds and points kept coming.
”Carve out space and be aggressive, attack both offensively and defensively,” Auguste said. ”When I focus on defense and getting those rebounds I think the offense translates real easy for me.”
Zach LeDay paced Virginia Tech (12-7, 4-2) with 22 points. LeDay scored the game’s final basket with 41 seconds left.
A 3-point attempt by Virginia Tech’s Seth Allen rimmed out as time expired.
”When I let it go, it looked good. It kind of rolled out,” Allen said.
Allen, who scored 20 points, sat out last season after transferring from Maryland.
”He kicked our butts two years ago at College Park,” Brey said of Notre Dame’s last encounter with the 6-foot-1 guard.
A 3-point play by Demetrius Jackson at 3:23 put the Irish ahead 76-75. It was Notre Dame’s first lead since 28-26 in the first half. Another 3-point play, this by Auguste, gave the Irish their biggest lead of the game at 81-77 with 1:38 remaining before Allen sank two free throws. A basket by Steve Vasturia put Notre Dame up 83-79 with just under a minute left.
Jackson scored 18 points, Bonzie Colson 15 and Vasturia 14 for Notre Dame.
”Demetrius and Steve were fabulous at driving at the right times,” Brey said.
Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams noted that Notre Dame came in leading the country in offensive efficiency and he saw more of the same Wednesday.
”It’s a little of pick your poison,” Williams said. ”You have to have multiple plans and multiple matchups and ball-screen coverage.
”The floor is going to be spread and they know how to take advantage of that.”
Justin Bibbs added 12 points and Shane Henry 11 for Virginia Tech.
”We showed great maturity today,” Williams said. ”It’s easily the best game we’ve played on the road since we’ve been (at Virginia Tech).”
It was a game where most of the points came either inside or at the free-throw line. Notre Dame held a 44-40 edge in points in the paint for the game, including 24-16 in the second half.
”If a guy puts his head down and he’s going, it’s almost impossible to guard him with the new rule,” Brey said.
”That’s our game plan,” LeDay said. ”We just try to attack and get free throws.”
Virginia Tech led by as many as nine early in the second half. A 3-point play by Henry put the Hokies ahead 48-39.
Notre Dame tied the game at 54-all on a 3-point play by Colson at the 13:23 mark. Virginia Tech answered back seconds later with a Bibbs 3-pointer and the Hokies held on to the lead until deep into the second half.
While Virginia Tech sank four 3-pointers in the first half, 12 of the Hokies’ first 16 first-half field goals came in the paint.
Notre Dame: Notre Dame leads the all-time series against Virginia Tech 6-1. . Notre Dame is 8-1 at Purcell Pavilion this season.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
”We were playing 6-5-and-under rec league and couldn’t stop him off the glass.” – Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams on the second-half play of Notre Dame’s Zach Auguste.
The lead changed 14 times and the score was tied on 10 occasions. Notre Dame came in ranked second in the country in turnovers per game (9.3) and committed nine against Virginia Tech, including just two in the second half.
Notre Dame: Host to Boston College on Saturday.