NEW YORK – Bonzie Colson banked in a go-ahead, 3-point heave that barely beat the shot clock with two minutes remaining, and Notre Dame rallied from 21 down in the second half to stun Virginia Tech, 71-65, on Wednesday night at the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.
Matt Farrell scored 22 points for the 10th-seeded Fighting Irish (20-13), who overcame a dreadful start in extending their late push to reach the NCAA tournament.
Finally healthy after injuries to Colson and Farrell nearly wrecked a promising season, Notre Dame advanced to play Thursday night in the quarterfinals against fifth-ranked and second-seeded Duke, the defending tournament champion.
Do the Irish need to win at least that one, too, in order to make the field of 68?
Hard to say, but they sure woke up the echoes on this snowy night in Brooklyn.
With the Irish stars struggling to make shots, seventh-seeded Virginia Tech (21-11) was cruising along with a 47-26 lead with just less than 14 minutes remaining when Farrell drained his second consecutive 3.
That started a ferocious surge that got a feisty Notre Dame squad back into it. The game got a little testy as the Irish picked up the intensity and the Hokies went cold on offense.
A technical foul on Virginia Tech swingman Chris Clarke for shoving Farrell led to four Notre Dame free throws that trimmed it to 54-50 with 7:45 to go. Colson kissed three fingers on each hand and gestured to the crowd after his desperation shot from the right wing gave the Irish a 60-59 edge.
They extended their advantage at the free-throw line, and in the final minute, Farrell looked over at former Notre Dame star LaPhonso Ellis, broadcasting courtside for ESPN, and yelled: “I told you, Phonso, we ain’t done!”
Colson, back recently from a broken foot, finished with 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting. Rex Pflueger had 14 points and nine rebounds, and T.J. Gibbs added 13 points and seven assists.
Justin Robinson and Justin Bibbs each scored 15 for the Hokies.
Bulls build 21-point lead, hang on to beat Grizzlies: At Chicago, Lauri Markkanen scored 22 points, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn added 21 apiece, and the Bulls hung on to hand the Memphis Grizzlies their 15th straight loss, 119-110, on Wednesday night.
The Bulls had a 21-point lead whittled to one but came away with their fourth win in 18 games.
Dunn scored 11 in the fourth quarter and made four free throws in the final 33.7 seconds to help the Bulls come out on top.
Justin Holiday added 14 points – going 5 for 5 from the field and nailing four 3-pointers – after the NBA prodded the Bulls to start playing him and Robin Lopez again.
Memphis’ Dillon Brooks scored 20 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter. Marc Gasol and Ben McLemore added 17 apiece, but the Grizzlies couldn’t snap the NBA’s longest skid this season.