Another two comebacks that fell short cost the Notre Dame Fighting Irish the opportunity to pick up even one win on the week and also short-circuited a chance to knock off a top team on their home court. In the end, the two losses put the Irish further behind on the treadmill that they’ve been attempting to escape since conference play began earlier this month.
The Irish’s failure to defeat the fifth-ranked Florida State Seminoles on Saturday put their season record at 11-8, but more importantly, it dropped their mark in the ACC to 2-6. That puts them in a tie with North Carolina for 12th place and virtually eliminates any opportunity of challenging the Seminoles for conference supremacy since there’s now a five-game gap between the teams.
Notre Dame Basketball’s Week in Review
In losing to the Syracuse Orangemen at home on Wednesday night, Notre Dame trailed by four at half after leading by as many as 11 earlier in the contest. Once play resumed, the Irish dug themselves a huge hole that they weren’t quite able to escape as fell behind 64-51 with under 14 minutes left when the ill-fate, which sparked the first of two ill-fated comebacks.
Notre Dame went on an 18-4 run that took up nearly eight minutes and gave them a 69-68 advantage. Then with the score deadlocked at 70 and 4:54 left on the clock, the Orangemen ran off eight unanswered points. The Irish were able to slice the margin to two at 82-80 with 10 seconds left, but two clinching free throws settled the issue.
The Irish started out on fire against Florida State, jumping out to an early 10-2 lead in the first three minutes and led by as many as 10 points.That was when the Seminoles charged back by running off 18 unanswered points and were able to maintain at least a five-point spread the remainder of the half to head into intermission with a 47-37 advantage.
That inability to crack through remained in evidence for Notre Dame when play resumed, with the Irish finding themselves with multiple double-digit deficits to overcome. With just under eight minutes left, Notre Dame trailed 75-61 and were seemingly done, but led by Prentiss Hubb, who scored 13 points during the surge and connected on a three-pointer with 19 seconds left to get within three at 85-82. A Juwan Durham steal and basket sliced it to 85-84, with another Florida State turnover, giving the Irish one last shot. Unfortunately, four missed shots wrote the finish to another sad story for Notre Dame.
Notre Dame Standouts of the Week
Mooney led the scoring parade with a total of 37 points, contributing a team-high 21 points in the loss to Syracuse. In that game against the Orangemen, he also grabbed 13 boards for his his 12th consecutive double and also added six assists. However, that streak ended when Florida State limited him to just five rebounds in a 16-point, three-steal performance.
Hubb offered contrasting scoring performances in his two outings last week, tallying just eight against Syracuse before coming back strong with 24 against Florida State. The first outing was marked by his struggles from the field, in which he connected on just three of his 10 shots. In the game against the Orangemen, he aided in other ways by dishing out five assists and grabbing four boards.
Coming off the bench, Goodwin has put together four straight double-digit scoring performances, notching 27 points in the two Notre Dame matchups last week. Over this stretch, he’s averaging 14 points per game and giving Brey a quality shooter off the bench.
Notre Dame Basketball’s Week Ahead
Home cooking is on the schedule this week for Notre Dame, which provides the means to try and chip away at their massive deficit within the ACC, The first of these games takes place on Wednesday, when they host the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in the first of two meetings this season. Last year, the Deaons’ 75-68 victory stopped an Irish five-game winning streak in the series.
On Saturday, the Irish have a noontime start against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, who they defeated in Atlanta back on January 15. Since joining the ACC, Notre Dame’s record at home against the Yellow Jackets has been spotless, winning all six contests, including last year’s 69-59 victory, which preceded a devastating seven-game losing skid.