Notre Dame has no trouble with Miami (Fla.)

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune


Sliding into his seat for the post-game press conference, Notre Dame sophomore guard Prentiss Hubb reached for a stray stat sheet.

It told him nothing about what the Irish had just done in taking apart an Atlantic Coast Conference colleague at Purcell Pavilion. No point totals. No assists numbers. No shooting percentages. Nothing. Turns out the piece of paper carried the final numbers of the Notre Dame women’s game played in the arena earlier Sunday.

A reporter handed Hubb the box score from the men’s game. There was a lot for him and his teammates to like following an 87-71 victory over Miami (Fla.).

Four Irish scored in double figures. Two finished with double doubles. Notre Dame led for 31:10 and by as many as 26 points.

Hubb didn’t want to make this game personal, but in many ways, it was. Hurricanes guard Chris Lykes is a former high school teammate of Hubb’s from back in Washington, D.C. When the two played as college kids for the first time last season in South Florida, Hubb was taken to school by Lykes, who’s a year older. That night, he was also way wiser as Hubb struggled in going for three points, three rebounds, two assists and six turnovers in an Irish loss.

On Sunday, Hubb was way better. And wiser. He scored 15 points with 10 assists for his second career double double. That he did it against Lykes meant something. That he did it to help the Irish go 17-10, 8-8 in the ACC meant a little more.

“It’s all thanks to my teammates,” Hubb said. “They hit open shots. They just make it easier for me.”

Hubb was at the center of everything as the Irish registered their most lopsided league win this season. No game situations needed on this night. No last-second shots required. No reason for the head coach to remove his suit coat for the second half. Not when the Irish finished with 21 assists to seven turnovers. At halftime, they had 13 assists and not a single turnover. A lot of that was Hubb’s doing.

“He is such a tough dude,” Irish coach Mike Brey said. “I know he wanted to play well today ‘cause Chris treated him like the young guy last year. He’s such a winner.”

Winner of five in a row at home, its longest run of success since 2016-17, Notre Dame pulls into a four-way tie for fifth place in the league with North Carolina State, Syracuse and Clemson with two weeks remaining in the regular season.

Senior power forward John Mooney basically had his 22{sup}nd{/sup} double double of the season and 43rd of his career — 19 points, 12 rebounds — locked down by halftime, when he had 11 points and nine rebounds. Mooney’s only the third player in ACC history (Tim Duncan, Sheldon Williams) to have at least 20 double doubles over consecutive seasons. How easy was it for him Sunday? Mooney corralled one of his rebounds off an Irish missed shot that bounced off the rim and all the way out past the 3-point line.

“It’s nice,” Mooney said of the easy evening. “But we’ve got to move forward.”

Miami (14-13; 6-11) had won its last three but it was apparent by late in the first half that it wasn’t going to get to four straight. The Hurricanes had won the last two and four of five in the series. Sunday was the first time Notre Dame has won at home against Miami since 2015.

“They played really, really well, and we didn’t,” said Miami coach Jim Larranaga. “This was just not our night.”

What kind of show was it late in the half for Notre Dame? At one point, with the Irish already up 11 and in transition, T.J. Gibbs and Dane Goodwin both floated to the right wing and were calling for Hubb to get them the ball. They were waving. They were motioning. It didn’t matter.

Hubb never looked at them. That’s because he dropped off a pass — a bounce pass between his legs — to a trailing Nate Laszewski, who connected on a three to push the Irish lead to 14.

It went from a close game to not a close game within a handful of possessions. A Goodwin bucket with an assist from Hubb stretched the Irish lead to 21 (48-27) and capped a 20-2 Irish run.

“We’re playing well right now,” Mooney said. “I think we’re kind of hitting our stride a little bit.”

The 48 first-half points were a season high in league play for Notre Dame.

“That’s got to be one of our better halves in this building since I’ve been here,” Brey said. “I thought we were in a great rhythm offensively sharing the ball. Nobody plays like us.”

The Irish were back on the floor with a good five-plus minutes remaining during intermission. There really wasn’t much X-ing and O-ing for Brey to do back in the locker room. Basically, it was just keep doing what the Irish were doing. Everything was working.

“I like how we’re playing right now,” Brey said. “We know who we are; we’ve kind of figured it out.”

Sunday was the first game after five days away from game action for Notre Dame, which needed an extended break after finishing a previous run of four games in nine days. The Irish actually took two full days off last week to compensate for what’s coming this week.

The Irish play three league games in seven days. It continues Wednesday with a late tip (9 p.m.) at Boston College. Notre Dame will spend Wednesday evening in New England before a charter flight Thursday afternoon to North Carolina in advance of a Saturday afternoon game at Wake Forest.

Notre Dame closes the regular season with two home games the first full week of March. Three of its final four regular-season games are against teams with losing league records.

• NOTRE DAME 87, MIAMI (Fla.) 71

At Purcell Pavilion

MIAMI (71): Stone 3-9 2-2 10, Miller 2-6 1-2 5, Lykes 4-11 0-0 8, Vasiljevic 4-8 2-2 12, Wong 5-11 2-2 12, Waardenburg 1-2 0-0 3, McGusty 2-6 1-2 5, Beverly 6-12 0-0 12, Walker 2-5 0-0 4. Totals 29-70 8-10 71.

NOTRE DAME (87): Durham 3-6 2-2 8, Mooney 9-16 0-0 19, Gibbs 7-10 0-0 19, Hubb 4-13 4-4 15, Pflueger 2-2 2-3 8, Goodwin 6-11 0-0 14, Laszewski 1-7 1-2 4, Djogo 0-1 0-0 0, Morgan 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 32-68 9-11 87.

Halftime_Notre Dame 48-29. 3-Point Goals_Miami 5-22 (Vasiljevic 2-5, Stone 2-6, Waardenburg 1-2, Beverly 0-1, McGusty 0-1, Walker 0-1, Wong 0-2, Lykes 0-4), Notre Dame 14-31 (Gibbs 5-6, Hubb 3-9, Pflueger 2-2, Goodwin 2-4, Mooney 1-3, Laszewski 1-5, Djogo 0-1, Morgan 0-1). Rebounds_Miami 34 (Stone, Miller, Beverly 6), Notre Dame 38 (Mooney 13). Assists_Miami 9 (Lykes 4), Notre Dame 21 (Hubb 10). Total Fouls_Miami 9, Notre Dame 10.

Notre Dame’s Prentiss Hubb, left, gets fouled under the basket by Miami’s Chris Lykes (0) during the second half of Sunday’s game in South Bend.
Notre Dame’s T.J. Gibbs (10) drives against Miami’s Isaiah Wong (2) during Sunday’s game in South Bend.
Miami’s Keith Stone (4) goes up for a shot as Notre Dame’s Juwan Durham (11) defends during Sunday’s game in South Bend.
Notre Dame’s Dane Goodwin (23) goes in for a layup over Miami’s Keith Stone (4) during Sunday’s game in South Bend.