SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Kerry Blackshear Jr. had 22 points and 14 rebounds as No. 20 Virginia Tech defeated Notre Dame 67-59 on Saturday.
The Hokies (21-6, 10-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), leading from the game’s first basket onward, grabbed to a 14-4 advantage over the initial eight minutes.
The Fighting Irish (13-14, 3-11), who got as close as six points on three occasions in the second half, lost their third straight game and their ninth in their last 11 outings.
T.J. Gibbs led Notre Dame with 18 points but was just 5 of 17 from the field with three 3-pointers. John Mooney added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Blackshear, hot of late, is averaging 24.7 points and 12.0 rebounds over his last three games.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker added 12 points for Tech.
The Hokies swarmed for as many offensive rebounds — 18 — as Notre Dame had defensive rebounds on their way to winning the glass 49-27.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies improved to 4-3 without senior point guard Justin Robinson. The ACC’s active leader in career assists is out indefinitely with a left foot injury he suffered Jan. 30 at Miami. Tech — which is 17-3 with Robinson (14.4 points ppg, 5.5 assists) — encounters two ranked opponents in its final three regular-season games.
Notre Dame: The Irish fell below .500 for just the second time in coach Mike Brey’s 19 seasons. The only other occasion occurred in 2013-14, when they slipped to 15-16 on their way to a 15-17 finish, their only non-winning season under Brey.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies host No. 1 Duke on Tuesday. They are 0-4 against top-16 teams.
Notre Dame: The Irish play the middle of three straight games against ranked opponents when they visit No. 16 Florida State on Monday.