Notre Dame Basketball Report: Irish Looking to Salvage Season

The frustrating beat went on for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in their two contests last week, coming up short in both instances. That now gives them an 11-9 overall record on the year, with just one ACC victory to their credit in seven tries. Those struggles within the conference don’t bode well for the remainder of the campaign, which has 11 more ACC dates still remaining.

Besides a lack of depth and overall experience on the depleted roster, Mike Brey’s squad was plagued with inconsistent performances last week. John Mooney’s performances were a sharp contrast to that assessment, though finding a way to establish a winning requires more than a reliance on a single player.

Notre Dame Basketball’s Week in Review

Facing the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech, the Irish were plagued throughout the game with weak shooting from the field, ending the game by hitting on just 32 percent of their attempts from the field. That put them behind for most of the first half, but in the final six minutes before intermission, Notre Dame managed to put together a 16-8 run to take a 30-28 lead into halftime. Freshman Nate Laszewski’s eight points in just over a minute was the spark that got the Irish within a point, while John ooney’s two free throws gave them their first lead.

Notre Dame was seemingly done with five minutes left in the game after Tech took a 58-47 lead, but a furious comeback ensued before coming up just short. The Irish twice had opportunities to either tie the game or take the lead, but a put-back with 52 seconds left served as the back-breakers. That was followed by two Yellow Jacket free throws with eight seconds to play that sent Notre Dame to the 63-61 defeat.

Facing the third-ranked Virginia Cavaliers on Saturday, the Irish never once held the lead and weren’t even able to put points on the board until more than six minutes had passed in the first half. By that time, Virginia was holding a 12-0 advantage and progressively built up their lead throughout the contest, allowing them to coast to an 82-55 win.

Notre Dame was adorned in green jerseys for the game, but any luck for the Irish never arrived. During the course of the first half, the Cavaliers led by as many as 20 points before taking a 42-25 lead into the halftime locker room. Once play resumed, the margin remained in double-digits, though Notre Dame did manage to make it a 54-42 contest with 13:32 left. However, being held scoreless for nearly five minutes ended any hopes of a dramatic comeback.

Notre Dame Standouts of the Week

John Mooney

Without the contributions of Mooney, the course of this season would be much worse than it already is, with the big man once again delivering a pair of double-double efforts. At Georgia Tech, he did a little bit of everything by tossing in 22 points, grabbing 14 rebounds, while dishing out a pair of assists, collecting two steals and also swatting away a pair of Yellow Jacket shots. In the Virginia rout, he provided 15 points and 10 boards to the Irish cause.

Nate Laszewski

The freshman offered up two completely distinctly different performances, though because of the minimal contributions of other teammates, he makes this week’s list. His effort at Georgia Tech nearly helped Notre Dame come away with the win, scoring 19 points and six rebounds. However, he only managed to score three points and haul down three rebounds in the loss to Virginia/

T.J. Gibbs

The guard was more consistent, though his lack of scoring punch only contributed 16 points for the Irish. His seven points, five boards and two assists against Tech were then followed by nine points and a pair of assists in the Virginia defeat. A key facet of his scoring woes was his 6-for-23 performance from the field.

Notre Dame Basketball’s Week Ahead

The Irish will stay at home for their first game of the week, but it will be against the second-ranked Duke Blue Devils. Notre Dame hasn’t had much luck in this series, with Duke holding a 24-7 all-time edge. More recently, the Blue Devils have won the last four meetings, including a pair of ACC tournament battles. That streak began with their last trip to Purcell Pavilion two years ago, an 84-74 victory.

On Saturday, the Irish travels to face the Boston College Eagles and hope to continue the success they’ve had in this series. Notre Dame is undefeated in this matchup since joining the ACC and has won 16 of the last 17 contests. That includes the previous 12 meetings, five of which have taken place at Chestnut Hill.

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  1. It would take an Act of God for the team to salvage this season. We can only hope the freshmen will learn from this, and be better as sophomores.

  2. Against Virginia and Duke last night the Irish weren’t even playing competitive basketball. Brad valiantly tried to find a bit of light in the Virginia game but there wasn’t really any. When you have to say a 12 point deficit was the highlight, that’s a bad game. The Irish were dominated beginning to end. Last night the same thing. The Irish never threatened, Duke owned us. And I didn’t like the look on the team last night. They looked frustrated and dejected. I’m growing concerned that Brey is losing this team. Many of these players will be back next year so he has to get them back on track.

    It’s likely they are going to have a losing season this year. But I still think they can build some valuable experience for next year. A lot of these players are gaining valuable experience. But they can’t quit. That would make this year a total waste. The younger players need to develop their skills, and Brey should use the opportunity to experiment a bit with different line ups to see what combinations work. I know it’s not his MO, but this year is probbably a lost year as far as the overall record and any chance to get into a post-season go. But something good can come of it if they can get a head start on next year.

  3. When the Irish were getting wasted by the Cavs, I tuned in Polka Parade here in the hinterland. They were moving faster, sad to say.

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