Mike Brey came up with a catchy nickname for himself.

“‘Must-win Mike,’” the Notre Dame coach joked, “because I’ve been in a lot of these must-win (games).”

After dropping three in a row, and with their next two on the road, the Irish needed to find a way to win Sunday’s home contest against Virginia Tech.

Pat Connaughton delivered, finishing with 21 points and eight rebounds in a 70-63 victory against the Hokies.

Demetrius Jackson scored 13 points while Eric Atkins added 12 more as the Irish won on the 40-year anniversary of the 1974 team’s historic victory against UCLA.

Several of the Notre Dame players from that win, which snapped the Bruins’ 88-game winning streak, attended Sunday’s game to watch former coach Digger Phelps’ induction into the school’s Ring of Honor.

They also saw a desperate Notre Dame team come up with a big victory.

“We really needed this,” Brey said. “I was channeling ever bit of the 1974 team and the guy with the highlighter (Phelps). I was channeling all the karma. We needed it.

“It was a special night. I’m glad we could win it on this night.”

Connaughton provided the spark, connecting on four three-pointers.

“Flat-out man,” Brey said of Connaughton. “I was after him a little bit to lead better since Maryland and set the tone for us defensively. Pat is amazingly coachable. I challenged him, and Eric and (Garrick) Sherman.

“He kind of wouldn’t let you lose tonight. Not surprising, because that’s one guy that is extremely dependable.”

Notre Dame (11-7, 2-3 ACC) built a 39-24 halftime lead. But the Irish also had a double-digit lead in their previous game at Maryland, only to see the Terrapins rally for a 74-66 victory.

The players were determined to avoid a repeat.

But the Hokies (8-9, 1-4) started the second half with an 18-7 run to get within four. Later in the half, Devin Wilson made two free throws to make it 53-51 with 9:55 remaining.

The Irish didn’t panic. Instead, Notre Dame got the ball to Connaughton, who made a three-pointer.