Prior to at least temporarily righting the course of their season last week, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were in the midst of a seven-game losing streak. The two wins they picked up now give them a 15-10 overall mark and a 5-7 record within the ACC, though making further headway will continue to be a challenge over the next three weeks.
The win over the Boston College Eagles last Tuesday certainly lit up the scoreboard, though trying to contain the Eagles’ Jerome Robinson was nearly impossible. Robinson scored 46, but the Irish came away with a 96-85 win. The 15-point victory over Florida State had a unique off-court twist attached to it, considering that the 1978 Final Four team was being honored in ceremonies. That’s because the Seminoles’ athletic director, Stan Wilcox, was a part of that memorable squad.
Notre Dame Basketball Week in Review
Robinson’s onslaught was the most points by an opposing player at Purcell Pavillion in 40 years, with success on the offensive side for the Irish helping to blunt that impact. Notre Dame hit at 53 percent from the field, but was also aided by solid ball control that saw them only commit five turnovers.
With roughly more than five minutes gone in the second half, the Irish were seemingly in control, holding a 60-42 advantage. That huge lead quickly fell apart over the next seven minutes as the Eagles went on a 26-10 run to make it a 70-68 game in favor of the Irish. At that point, BC ran out of gas and allowed Notre Dame to salt the win away.
Until midway through the second half, the game against Florida State was hanging in the balance. At that point, the contest was deadlocked at 52-apiece. However, from that point, Notre Dame put together a 32-17 surge that ended with an 84-69 win.
Part of that second half success can be attributed to tighter defense that limited the Seminoles to just 37 percent shooting from the field after the break. Matt Farrell’s devastating impact from long-range was the spark that the Irish offense needed as he drilled six three-pointers on the day.
Notre Dame Standouts of the Week
If his performances last week were any indication, Farrell appears to be fully recovered from his ankle trouble after a pair of solid efforts in the two victories. Against Boston College, he scored 19 and handed out seven assists, which was followed by a career-high 28 points four days later against Florida State. In the latter clash, he delivered five more assists and also added four rebounds to the winning cause.
Continuing his breakout season, Gibbs matched the scoring output of Farrell, albeit in reverse order. Facing the Eagles of BC, he tallied 28 on the night and followed that up with 19 against the Seminoles. On the rebounding front, he grabbed a total of eight boards in the two wins.
Following a quiet week, Pflueger once again made his presence felt by putting up a combined 32 points in the Irish’s pair of victories. He notched 19 points against Florida State and was also effective elsewhere by dishing out 10 assists and hauling down nine boards off the glass.
Doing his part on both the scoring and rebounding front, Geben picked up a double-double against Boston College by scoring 16 and snagging 11 rebounds. He then came close again to another double-double by putting up a 10-point, eight-rebound effort against Florida State.
Notre Dame Basketball’s Week Ahead
Two games in front of the home base provided some needed salve to the Irish’s wounds, but they now have to go back on the road for a pair of games. The first will present a stiff challenge, considering it will take place on Monday in front of North Carolina’s rabid fans in Chapel Hill. The latter clash will be a rematch against Boston College on Saturday afternoon.
Last month, a one-point loss to the Tar Heels was the second of Notre Dame’s seven-game losing skid. In the five games that the Irish have played in Chapel Hill, they’ve come up short four times, with that one win came two years ago in a 71-70 victory. The numbers at Boston College have been much better, at least in the ACC era. In their four trips to Chestnut Hill, Notre Dame has won all four games.