Keve Aluma scored 20 points and Justyn Mutts recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds as Virginia Tech picked up a critical 87-80 victory over Notre Dame in an Atlantic Coast Conference tournament quarterfinal on Thursday night in New York.
The seventh-seeded Hokies (21-12) advanced to their first ACC semifinal since 2011 and will play either #3 seed North Carolina or #6 seed Virginia on Friday. Virginia Tech never trailed against the second-seeded Fighting Irish (22-10), whom it beat for the second time this season.
Five Hokies players scored in double figures as they strengthened their case to make the NCAA Tournament. Storm Murphy finished with 16 points, Sean Pedulla scored 13 points and Nahiem Alleyne totaled 12.
Back to back 3-pointers by Murphy helped the Hokies take a 79-68 lead with 1:51 remaining. But Cormac Ryan scored five points during a 7-0 Notre Dame run, which pulled the Irish within four with 48 seconds left.
Mutts, who also had five assists, came up with a key block — one of three for the game — on Nate Laszewski, and both Pedulla and Hunter Cattoor hit a pair of free throws to help Virginia Tech hang on for the win.
Virginia Tech, which has won 11 of its past 13 games, shot 57.4 percent from the field (31 for 54) and scored 14 points in the first half off 10 Notre Dame turnovers.
The Fighting Irish, who were led by Prentiss Hubb’s 23 points and five assists, cleaned things up in the second half with only two more turnovers. But Notre Dame was unable to disrupt Virginia Tech’s offensive efficiency.
Ryan scored 20 points and had five rebounds while Laszewski also had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds for Notre Dame, which had won eight of its previous 10 heading into the ACC tournament. Dane Goodwin finished with 11 points, three rebounds and three assists for the Irish as well.