Notre Dame not good enough against No. 3 Maryland
COLLEGE PARK, Md.
Not yet, at least, not on this night. Maybe not this season.
Notre Dame’s confidence was high heading into Wednesday’s game against No. 3 Maryland in the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Irish felt good about their collective game after six straight home wins. They were road ready.
Then Wednesday unfolded the way it did, when the Terrapins were just better in nearly every phase and the Irish looked overmatched in a 72-51 loss at Xfinity Center.
"That was varsity versus the J.V. tonight," said Irish coach Mike Brey. "We were the J.V. and the varsity toyed with us tonight."
Notre Dame shot 29 percent from the field, 28 percent from 3 and trailed by as many as 25. It was a season low for points for the Irish.
Irish starting guards T.J. Gibbs, Prentiss Hubb and Rex Pflueger were a combined 5-of-28 from the floor, 3-for-14 from 3. They also had more combined turnovers (five) than points (two) in the first half.
Hubb led the Irish with 13 points. Gibbs and Pflueger went scoreless.
"For us to beat a good team, our guards have to be more productive," Brey said.
Sophomore guard Robby Carmody suffered what looked like a serious left knee injury trying to dunk in the closing seconds. He fell awkwardly and pointed right to his knee after trying to get up. He left the court afterward in a wheelchair with noticeable swelling and bruising around the top of his knee."
"I feel for the kid," Brey said. "I'm praying and hoping that this is not season ending."
The Irish (6-2) have lost 17 consecutive games against ranked teams stretched over two-plus seasons. It was Notre Dame’s second consecutive road game against a Top 10 team. Both ended in double-digit losses.
Notre Dame needed a good start on the road and got one. The Irish made three of their first five shots, including two from Juwan Durham, to jump to a 9-4 lead before the first television timeout. The good vibes didn’t last. Notre Dame then would miss eight straight shots and go scoreless for almost five minutes.
Aaron Wiggins sent the Irish to the locker room down 12 and probably a little embarrassed. With the first-half clock winding down, Wiggins shot a wing 3, then raced in and followed his miss with a two-handed dunk to beat the halftime horn.