Notre Dame rally stuns Virginia Tech at ACC tourney

It was an epic collapse for the Hokies in Brooklyn

They will go into the NCAA tournament with the ACC regular-season title, the conference tournament title and the No. 1 ranking in the nation.

It looked like the slim hope Notre Dame held early this week of reaching the NCAA tournament had been shattered by a more physical, fresh team. It climbed as high as No. 5 in December behind Preseason All-America Bonzie Colson.

The biggest comeback in Fighting Irish history came just in time Wednesday night - and that was worth hollering about.

All-American forward Brianna Turner never played this season after injuring a knee last March. The Irish were dead, weren't they?

Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams and players Chris Clarke and Justin Robinson talk with reporters after the Hokies' 71-65 loss to Notre Dame on Wednesday in the ACC Tournament.

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"Well how about that?" a jovial Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "But we dug in defensively and started making our shots".

Now, Notre Dame will face ACC No. 2 seed and nationally No. 5-ranked Duke, who the Irish fell to 88-66 on the road at Cameron Indoor Stadium more than a month ago, in Thursday evening's quarterfinal at 7 p.m.

"I don't want to hear about the best 68 (teams in the NCAA Tournament)", Brey said. At the very least, I think that they would have done enough to prove they are a top 30 team in the country with their entire roster healthy, and to me, that's enough to get in.

"I don't know how to feel", Bibbs said. "We have another great opportunity to end all the drama of it (Thursday) night, but we need to get some rest".

Notre Dame: The team's third game in three nights, this one against a fresh Blue Devils squad that hasn't played since upending rival North Carolina on Saturday night.

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With under one minute to play, Notre Dame allowed two threes from Virginia Tech. "For a while we looked worse tonight".

With the Irish stars struggling to make shots, seventh-seeded Virginia Tech (21-11) was cruising along with a 47-26 lead with 14 minutes remaining when Farrell drained his second consecutive 3.

The teams traded two baskets over the next minute, before Notre Dame went on 10-0 run and led by six points with 36 seconds left. We didn't guard. They scored 45 points in the last 15 minutes. The Blue Devils earned a double-bye and are playing their first game of the tournament. Colson added 12 points to go with two blocked shots. The Irish grabbed it with both hands. Clarke took exception and shoved Farrell past the first row of photographers on the baseline.

"I think it showed toughness", Farrell said. Combine that with a 4-of-24 second half against Pittsburgh on Tuesday, and you get 12-of-56, a grim 21.4 percent over 40 minutes.

Then, a barrage of back-to-back-to-back 3s from Colson, Farrell and TJ Gibbs brought the Irish fans to their feet, and an emotional and momentum-shifting play at the other end of the court completely turned the tide. With the shot clock expiring and him on the wing, he launched a three-pointer that banked in for a 60-59 lead, the Irish's first since 15-13.

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"Just keep plugging in", Colson said about his second half. "The backboard is there for a reason". "My dad taught me it's your best friend". He hit only a single bucket in 10 attempts in the first half, and his lack of scoring scuttled Notre Dame out of the gate. "I don't know if I've ever been prouder of a team, in a game that really matters".

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