Maybe it was the short trip to Milwaukee, or perhaps the Irish starting five were hoping to get out early to watch the Auburn-Oregon National Championship Game, whatever it was the Notre Dame squad (14-3, 3-2) that jumped into the top ten rankings this week and who have looked stellar of late absolutely didn’t show up last night.
Bray’s squad turned in a dismal performance against a seriously talented Golden Eagle team (12-5, 3-1) in a 79-57 loss that never really felt even that close.
Led by senior guard Dwight Buycks’ 21 points (5-for-5 from 3-point range) Marquette made it obvious early on that their game plan would be offensive rebounding and excellent shooting. The team overall was a remarkable 70% from beyond the arch.
The Irish on the other hand never really felt in the game and had the kind of cold shooting hand that you read about. With a 42.5% field goal percentage, and an unexplainable 39.6% overall the Irish often looked sluggish and technically sloppy.
Eric Atkins led the Irish with 15 points (compared to Marquette’s second leading scorer, Jae Crowder with 18) and was helped by Tim Ambromitis and Scott Martin who put up 10 each. Big East Player of the Week Ben Hansbrough had 9 and never really found his rhythm.
Notre Dame now has a much needed six-day break before an away rematch with St. John’s. The hope is
that this time will allow a tired and sore team to recover. Senior forward Carleton Scott, still nursing a hamstring injury, is expected to be set to go by then.
Let’s hope the rest of the team is as well.