No. 20 Virginia Tech endured a loss on the court Saturday at Syracuse and another one off it early Sunday morning.
The Hokies will be without starting guard Tyrece Radford for their Wednesday night visit to Atlantic Coast Conference rival Notre Dame. The 6-foot-2 junior was suspended indefinitely, per athletic department policy, after being charged with a first-offense DUI and carrying a concealed weapon by Blacksburg, Va., police.
Radford averages 11.1 points and 6.3 rebounds, both second on the team, and leads the team in minutes per game at 31.1. In Virginia Tech's win on Jan. 12 over Duke, Radford was the best player on the floor with an 18-point, 12-rebound double-double.
The task for the Hokies is to make up for the loss of Radford in their third consecutive ACC road game.
"We've got no choice," coach Mike Young said. "We'll figure it out. We've got enough players in this building to continue to win."
Or, in this case, to resume the winning that put them near the top of the ACC standings. Even after a 78-60 clunker in upstate New York, Virginia Tech is tied for third in the conference and still boasts three top-25 wins, including a neutral-court overtime decision against No. 3 Villanova in November.
Keve Aluma leads the Hokies' offense with 13.9 points and 7.1 boards per game while sixth man Jalen Cone (10.9 ppg) and Nahiem Alleyne (10.5 ppg) also supply double-figure scoring. Alleyne pumped in 20 points at Syracuse, but Virginia Tech made just 20 of 61 shots from the field (32.8 percent), including 8 of 29 from 3-point range (27.6 percent).
The Hokies also turned in a sub-par effort on defense, allowing the Orange to connect on 50.9 percent of their field-goal attempts while forcing only eight turnovers.
Meanwhile, the Fighting Irish (5-8, 2-5) are coming off a 73-59 win Sunday night at Miami, their second victory in a row after four consecutive losses. Prentiss Hubb led the way with 19 points and nine assists while Juwan Durham added 16 points and Nate Laszewski produced a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double.
Notre Dame overcame 16 turnovers with outstanding shooting and rebounding. The Fighting Irish made 53.8 percent of their field-goal tries, including a blistering 10 of 18 on 3-pointers, and earned a 37-28 advantage on the boards.
The Irish haven't always been a good rebounding team this season. Even after Sunday night, they rank near the bottom of Division I in boards with just 32.1 per game. However, the absence of Radford could give them a better chance to compete on the glass.
"He's a heck of a player, and that's a big loss for them," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "Even though he's a loss, I have a feeling that they still have enough dudes that they can get out and get after us."
Laszewski (16.6 points, 7.8 rebounds per game) leads the Irish in scoring and rebounding while connecting on 64.6 percent of his shots from the field.
Virginia Tech won the season's first meeting 77-63 on Jan. 10 in Blacksburg behind 18 points from Cone and a 41-24 rebounding advantage.
--Field Level Media