Notre Dame goes ice cold in another league loss

Tribune Staff Report
ND Insider

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Coming off its best shooting game in Atlantic Coast Conference play four days prior, the season-long shot-missing struggles were supposed to finally be behind Notre Dame.

Especially against the league’s last-place team, which also was the worst defensive team in terms of shooting percentages from the field and from 3. Easy evening, right?

Not so much.

Notre Dame shot 32.1 percent from the field, 14.3 percent from 3 in a 62-47 loss to Miami Wednesday at the Watsco Center. It was a season low for points for Notre Dame, which managed to get 55 three games earlier against No. 3 Virginia, the league’s top defensive team. The Irish managed only six more points than the all-time low for points (41) under Brey.

Hit with that polar vortex-like stretch of shooting, Notre Dame falls to 12-11, 2-8 in the ACC. Miami improves to 10-12, 2-8.

The scoreless streaks just kept building for the visitors all night. Two minutes here. Three minutes there. Then nearly six. Three more minutes. All this against a Miami team that entered Wednesday’s game last in the ACC in field goal percentage (.459) and second to last in 3-point field goal percentage (.355).

Notre Dame trailed by as many as 18 and didn’t lead for the final 25 minutes after jumping to a nine-point advantage early.

After connecting on three of its first four 3-pointers, Notre Dame missed its next 16. By the time D.J, Harvey hit one from the corner nearly 10 minutes into the second half, the Irish were down 16 points.

Harvey led the Irish with 14 points.

Up by as many as nine in the opening minutes, Notre Dame fell into a double-digit hole in the opening minutes of the second half following a Chris Lykes pull-up jumper in the lane. A Nate Laszewski lay-up, and free throw, finally gave the Irish their first basket in nearly nine minutes. Another Laszewski bucket brought Notre Dame back within six.

Irish guard Prentiss Hubb and Lykes played in the same backcourt at Gonzaga College High School in Washington. Hubb delivered a wing 3 over his buddy to start the game. A John Mooney 3 from the top of the key allowed the Irish to jump to an early 11-2 lead.

Notre Dame made five of its first six shots before the first media timeout. The Irish could get any shot they wanted. It was that easy. The Irish then turned it over four times — nearly half their total for an entire game — by the second media timeout. That allowed the Hurricanes to get back within five.

A 9-0 Hurricane run helped tie it at 13 as the Irish went seven minutes without a basket before Hubb found Mooney in transition for a dunk. The Irish then labored through another first-half, sluggish stretch of nearly seven minutes without a basket. What had looked so easy had again become so difficult.

Notre Dame made only three of its final 19 shots in the first half.

After erupting for 13 points the first 3:40, the Irish managed only 10 the final 16:20. Still, they trailed by only five points at the break. The 23 points were a league low for Notre Dame.

Mooney entered Wednesday’s game having recorded double-doubles for points and rebounds in eight-straight league games and a league-best 14 overall this season. No other league player had more than eight at the start of this week.

Mooney finished with 11 points and six rebounds.

Notre Dame was coming off its first league road win of the season, Saturday at Boston College. Starting its ninth different lineup this season, one that included junior swingman Nik Djogo making his first start this year, Notre Dame posted conference season highs for field goal percentage (52.9) and 3-point percentage (50) in the six-point BC win.

That victory snapped a five-game league losing streak heading into Wednesday’s game against a team that had lost seven-straight league games. The Hurricanes entered Wednesday with the fewest league wins (one).

Coming off a career-high 21 points, Djogo made his second-straight start.

Brey mentioned last week that he had hoped to possible start junior power forward Juwan Durham in this game. Durham returned to action Saturday after missing four games and five of six with a left ankle injury that started as a sprain but became a bone bruise.

Brey said he wanted to see if Durham could handle as many as 25 minutes a game against the Hurricanes, but that was before he played only nine scoreless minutes with three fouls against the Eagles.

Durham had eight points and four rebounds on Wednesday.

Notre Dame returns to action Sunday at home against Georgia Tech, one of four repeat league opponents. The Yellow Jackets won the first meeting last month, 63-61.

Three of the next four games for Notre Dame are at home.

NOTRE DAME (12-11): Mooney 4-9 2-2 11, Djogo 2-5 0-0 4, Gibbs 1-9 0-0 2, Hubb 1-7 0-0 3, Harvey 4-9 4-4 14, Laszewski 2-6 1-1 5, Durham 4-6 0-0 8, Burns 0-0 0-0 0, Doherty 0-0 0-0 0, Nelligan 0-0 0-0 0, Goodwin 0-5 0-0 0. Totals 18-56 7-7 47.

MIAMI (10-12): Izundu 7-7 0-0 14, Lawrence 5-13 0-0 11, Lykes 5-10 1-1 11, Johnson 3-11 1-2 7, Vasiljevic 5-14 2-2 15, Waardenburg 2-5 0-0 4, Mack 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 27-62 4-5 62.

Halftime_Miami 28-23. 3-Point Goals_Notre Dame 4-28 (Harvey 2-6, Mooney 1-5, Hubb 1-6, Goodwin 0-1, Laszewski 0-2, Djogo 0-2, Gibbs 0-6), Miami 4-23 (Vasiljevic 3-9, Lawrence 1-4, Waardenburg 0-1, Mack 0-2, Johnson 0-3, Lykes 0-4). Fouled Out_None. Rebounds_Notre Dame 31 (Djogo 7), Miami 38 (Lawrence 12). Assists_Notre Dame 7 (Djogo, Gibbs, Hubb 2), Miami 8 (Johnson 3). Total Fouls_Notre Dame 9, Miami 14.

Miami forward Sam Waardenburg (21) drives against Notre Dame forward Juwan Durham Wednesday in Coral Gables, Fla.
Miami center Ebuka Izundu (15) dunks against Notre Dame's John Mooney (33) and D.J. Harvey (5) Wednesday 2019 in Coral Gables, Fla.