WINSTON-SALEM — Matt Farrell hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 5.9 seconds remaining as Notre Dame completed a second-half rally to defeat Wake Forest 76-71 on Saturday afternoon at Joel Coliseum.
Farrell’s basket from the right wing came with the shot clock nearly expired.
Wake Forest moved the ball to midcourt and called timeout with 3.6 seconds left, then turned the ball over on the inbounds pass. Martinas Geben sank two free throws to clinch the outcome.
It was a crucial victory for the Fighting Irish, who are trying afloat in the NCAA Tournament hunt they are back at full strength. Leading scorer Bonzie Colson has missed nearly two months but could be back next week.
Geben poured in a career-high 22 points, Farrell ended up with 21 points and T.J. Gibbs scored 20 points for Notre Dame (17-12, 7-9 Atlantic Coast Conference). Geben was 10-for-18 from the field and pulled in 14 rebounds.
Wake Forest (11-18, 4-13) missed seven consecutive shots from the field and then committed a turnover with less than 40 seconds to play to set up Notre Dame’s go-ahead possession.
Mitchell Wilbekin, a senior playing in his final home game, led Wake Forest with 14 points and Brandon Childress added 13. Chaundee Brown and Keyshawn Woods each finished with 12 points.
Wake Forest, which has lost five straight against Notre Dame, was trying to produce consecutive ACC victories for the first time this season after winning Wednesday night on the road against last-place Pittsburgh.
The Demon Deacons used a 7-0 burst to build a 59-51 lead with slightly more than 13 minutes to play. Five minutes later, they led 69-60.
Notre Dame’s 11-0 run was capped by Farrell’s 3 at the 3:19 mark.
Wake Forest led 41-36 at halftime as it comitted only one first-half turnover. It ended up with six giveaways.
Gibbs scored nine straight points for Notre Dame early in the second half as the Fighting Irish wiped out a six-point hole to take a brief lead.
Geben had a dozen first-half points, then picked up his third foul during the first minute of the second half.