Notre Dame Basketball Weekly Report: Rough Week for Irish

The possibility of receiving a huge boost from two victories instead boomeranged on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish as they dropped two close matchups last week. Last Wednesday, a fast start to the second half at North Carolina State faded and they ended up losing to the Wolfpack, 73-68. Back home on Saturday afternoon, a second-half comeback against the 13th-ranked Louisville Cardinals couldn’t be sustained, resulting in a heartbreaking 67-64 loss.

The two defeats drop them to 10-6 overall and, more importantly, result in them now having just one win in their five conference games this season. Last week’s matchups saw both games spin in different directions during the course of the contests. The problem was that when the final horn sounded, Mike Brey’s squad ended up on the losing end, with the pair of defeats now relegating them to a three-way tie for 13th place in the 15-team ACC.

Notre Dame Basketball’s Week in Review

In Raleigh, Notre Dame’s first-half saw them hold the lead for much of the opening 20 minutes, though by halftime, that advantage was just 39-34. Their largest lead was nine, following a three-pointer from Prentiss Hubb with 4:28 to go.

A Hubb layup early in the second half gave Notre Dame their largest lead at 51-39, but from then on, North Carolina State whittled away the margin. The Wolfpack tied the game at 60, then took the lead for good on a pair of free throws with 1:38 left.

A deadly 12-3 run by Louisville with less than five minutes turned what would have been a stirring comeback into an agonizing near-miss for Notre Dame. The Irish had jumped out to an early 7-2 lead, but then watch the Cardinals come close to breaking the game open as they outscored their hosts 34-17 run to take a 12-point lead into the half.

Notre Dame battled back, chipping away at their deficit by starting off after the break with an 11-1 run. That got them back into the game, but they weren’t able to take the lead until Dane Goodwin’s three-pointer with 7:08 to go gave the Irish a 55-53 lead. A last-ditch bid in the closing seconds failed to get off a potential shot to send it to overtime.

Notre Dame Standouts of the Week

John Mooney

Mooney kept his double-double streak going against the Wolfpack, contributing 14 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, while also swatting away a shot. However, his aggressive play resulted in his fouling out of the game with 1:38 left.

Delivering much of the same against Louisville, Mooney tossed in 15 points, hauling down 19 boards, blocking three shots and picking up two assists. His one steal gave the Irish a last shot to send the game into overtime, but that came up empty. The three blocked shots matched his season-high, set on December 29 against Alabama A&M.

Prentiss Hubb

Hubb had the most dramatically different week in this trio of performers, starting off with a strong performance by scoring 24 points, picking up three rebounds, while contributing a pair of assists and steals. Once again, his touch from long-range fueled his scoring punch, connecting on 4-of-7 beyond the arc and 9-of-14 overall.

That shooting prowess deserted Hubb against Louisville as he made just 3-of-14 from the field and was a miserable 2-for-10 on his three-point attempts. That resulted in just eight points on the afternoon, though he did deliver in the playmaking department with eight assists, while also adding three rebounds and two steals.

T.J. Gibbs

Gibbs provided nearly matching scoring efforts, beginning with his 14 points at North Carolina State. In that losing effort, he also was the primary playmaker, handing out six assists, while also crashing the boards for three rebounds and picking up a pair of steals.

On Saturday, Gibbs upped his point total by one, with his 15 points along with two assists. His production was representative of the Irish, with 13 of those points coming after the break and helping power the comeback.

Notre Dame Basketball’s Week Ahead

Just one game is on the Notre Dame schedule this week, but it will be a road matchup at Georgia Tech, with the Yellow Jackets coming off a 71-52 victory at Boston College on Saturday. Tech is 8-8 overall and 3-3 in the ACC, with the Irish’s trip to Atlanta last year resulting in a tough 63-61 loss.

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  1. Muffet will turn things around, I have great faith in her. Mike Brey is another story. He just does not recruit difference makers,nor can we win with a short bench. Brey has taken this thing as far as he can. One of his big excuses has been poor facilities. Guess he cannot use that one anymore. It’s just time for the Irish to move on.

    1. Yeah, I think this year is an anomaly for the women. It had to happen someday. I’m glad they won a NC not long ago. Gives them something to build off of.

      I thought Brey had turned a corner a few years back. Things were looking up and ND was looking like a team that could play and even beat some of the elites. But now it feels like the 2000s all over again where even beating average teams was tough. And Brey seems to have fallen into his old habits and using a short bench. And game after game these scoring droughts are a killer.

      I really thought with Mooney, Durham and Gibbs we were looking at another potential Grant, Connaughton and Jackson year. But of that group Durham has been a big disappointment for me. Hubb is starting to step up though, and if Gibbs can stay more consistent…..dream, dream, dream I guess

  2. Just a very disappointing year. I thought with Mooney, Durham and Gibbs the Irish might have had a strong year. But Durham has been a disappointment. And everyone except for Mooney has been inconsistent. And that is the main problem I see with the Irish this year. Inconsistency. If it weren’t for Mooney these games might not even be close. He’s the only one fighting night after night. When he fouled out against NC State I knew the game was over. And these scoring droughts are the only thing the Irish are consistent at game after game. You can count on a prolonged scoring drought in every game. It’s frustrating when the Irish are on a good run and then they go through a prolonged dry spell where they couldn’t hit the basket if it was 3 feet wide.

    Sadly, instead of having some kind of come back year I think it is more likely we replicate last year where we didn’t even make the NIT. Brey needs to do something to shake this team up, much like he did when he implemented the ‘burn’ several years back. That’s the only way I see anything potentially changing. Otherwise look for another ACC losing season with a 12th place or worse finish.

    On another note it’s sad to see how far the women’s team has fallen as well. They basically lost their entire starting rotation and one of their assistant coaches. Apparently that hit much harder than people thought it would. The women’s team hasn’t been this bad for as long as I can remember.

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