Over an eight-day span, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish suffered a pair of painful defeats that were wrapped around their lone win during this stretch. That left Notre Dame with a 16-12 overall mark and 6-9 within the highly-competitive ACC, which leaves them clinging to hope.
Having watched their season take on water earlier due to a seven-game losing streak, Notre Dame needs to finish with two wins in their last three games to have even a shred of hope in that five-day tournament challenge. To start, that means beating Wake Forest and Pitt.
Notre Dame Basketball’s Week in Review
Last Monday, Notre Dame acquitted themselves for the first 34+ minutes of the contest. However, the problem is that 40-minute games are the norm, with the Tar Heels using that final stretch to emerge with an 83-66 victory.
Having stayed close up to that point, that final North Carolina surge began after Martinas Geben’s dunk with 5:43 to play sliced the Irish deficit to just four at 67-63. Unfortunately, the only points for Mike Brey’s squad over the rest of the contest came on Nikola Djogo’s three-pointer with just 1:06 left, ending a string of 13 unanswered points by the Tar Heels.
Facing Boston College for the second time in 12 days, it was the Irish that took advantage of a huge first half run to collect an 84-67 win. Matt Farrell delivered most of the damage during the opening 20 minutes by scoring 26 of the team’s 46 first-half points.
Leading by 16 heading into intermission, Notre Dame was able to match baskets with the Eagles after the break to gain the victory, though Boston College managed to whittle the margin down to nine points at one point. The key to the Irish win was sharp shooting all around, which delivered a 63 percent success rate from the field. That included their long-range shooting of 61 percent.
Returning home to face the Miami Hurricanes on Monday night, the Irish suffered costly breakdowns in the waning portions of each half that ended up costing them the game. Notre Dame watched the Hurricanes go on a 15-4 first-half run that gave Miami a 38-29 halftime advantage.
The Irish would charge back with a nine-minute, 27-12 run that gave them a 62-57 lead with 7:51 to go. Ultimately, that ended up leading to a bad flashback from one week earlier, this time with Miami taking the lead back by scoring 13 unanswered points. One final comeback bid got the deficit down to two points with 1:10 left, but the Canes came away with a 77-74 victory.
Notre Dame Standouts of the Week
Farrell’s three games began with his near double-double of nine points and nine rebounds against North Carolina. That seemingly impressive feat was marred by his horrific shooting touch from the field, connecting on just three of his 18 attempts. He bounced back with 37 points against Boston College, drilling 10 three-pointers on his 12 tries before putting up 16 points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out six assists against Miami.
The man in the middle averaged six rebounds per game in the three contests and notched 49 points in the scoring column. He scored 18 points against the Tar Heels, hitting on all but one of his nine shots and grabbing seven boards. In the win over Boston College, he tallied 12 points and five rebounds and then contributed a 19-point, six-rebound effort in the Hurricanes clash.
A trio of double-digit efforts resulted in Gibbs scoring a combined 36 points in the team’s three games. His 10 points against North Carolina was primarily accomplished at the foul line, the result of his frigid shooting from the field that ended in a night of hitting just one of nine shots from the field. A 14-point performance in the win at Boston College then preceded an 11-point night in the loss to Miami.
Notre Dame Basketball’s Week Ahead
A dwindling number of games remaining doesn’t offer the Irish a lot of chances to move up in the conference standings. The first of those contests comes on Saturday afternoon when Notre Dame once again hits the road to take on Wake Forest. The first ACC matchup in 2014 between these two schools saw Wake win both games. However, since then, Notre Dame’s collected four straight wins, including last year’s seven-point victory.