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Notre Dame Basketball

Presto | Prentiss' Instant-Offense Fuels Irish

January 15, 2020
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At halftime Wednesday night inside Georgia Tech’s stuffy McCamish Pavilion, Prentiss Hubb wasn’t thinking anything about any career superlatives.

Or even perhaps --- perhaps --- a turning point in this topsy-turvy Notre Dame basketball season. The Irish carved out their 11th win of the season after posting just 14 all of last year in an injury-plagued nightmare campaign.

“It was really good to get a career-high, especially the way I was shooting first half,” said the Fighting Irish sophomore guard. “Wasn’t really able to make any 3-point jump-shots and then it all turned out.”

What turned out was a career-best 25-point eruption for Hubb, who scored 20 points in the second half as Notre Dame battled back from a six-point deficit with 10 minutes, 19 seconds left to secure a 78-84 win.

Hubb hit 8 of 16 field-goal attempts, including 3-for-8 from long distance, but it was his poised free-throw shooting inside the game’s final half-minute that catalyzed the Irish’s second Atlantic Coast Conference win and second road win this month.

“He’s trending this way,” ND coach Mike Brey said of his surging guard. “Carrier Dome (against Syracuse) over a week ago.

“I think he’s trending on being one of the better guards in the league.”

What Hubb and senior backcourt dynamo T.J. Gibbs fueled in this game was the type of effort that could have a lasting impact for the Irish. The duo scored 34 of their 42 combined points after the intermission.

It was Gibbs who ever-so-calmly bottomed a 3-pointer from beyond the top of the key with just 64 ticks left in the game for an 70-64 Irish bulge.

“We’ve gotta shout-out P-Hubb for really coming up big,” said senior post John Mooney. “P-Hubb and T.J. made some huge shots and that’s exactly what they’re on the floor to do.

“They’re awesome.”

Hubb emphasized that continued performances of this ilk from the Irish backcourt could bring back into focus some of the team’s goals.

“We feed off each other’s energy. Me and him, if we’re playing together in tandem and everything is flowing, I think that we can be very dangerous in the ACC and the NCAA,” Hubb said.

DOUBLE VISIONARY

John Mooney keeps climbing the benchmarks in Notre Dame’s annals. The senior from Florida added to that growing list of accomplishments Wednesday night as he helped the Irish win at Georgia Tech for the first time in five years and one day.

As he shrugged off a poor offensive first half, Mooney finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds for his 11th-straight double-double --- a feat that matched the program’s all-time best mark set previously by Luke Harangody.

Mooney now has collected 35 career double-doubles, including 14 this season. He downplayed his own accomplishment and pointed toward the collective after the game.

“I think it’s been like five years since we came down here and got a ‘W,’” Mooney said. “Feels good, they’re a good team. Obviously a great environment to play in.

“We’re just going to take this, got another game in a week so we’ve got to get some rest on it, but it’s time to build on it and hopefully make a little run.”

DYNAMIC DANE

Dane Goodwin has found himself increasingly assertive for Notre Dame in his role off the bench as the team’s sixth man.

But Goodwin most often has found his success inside Purcell Pavilion. Mike Brey challenged Goodwin Wednesday afternoon to do something about that trend.

The sophomore from Ohio responded with 15 points, including 10 in the opening half to match the combined output of John Mooney, Prentiss Hubb and T.J. Gibbs during the first 20 minutes.

“I challenged him because he’s been very good at home but he’s not been very good on the road,” said Brey. “(Wednesday) at shoot-around, I said, ‘Did you pack your game? Did you pack it, because you haven’t packed it yet?’ And he did. He’s a fearless guy.

“And again, when we go down to that smaller lineup, I don’t know, is he the 4-man or whatever? That’s a tricky matchup and we’re really able to spread the floor. That’s why Hubb and Gibbs were able to get in there so much. It’s just, ‘Can we hold our own defensively?’ This group seems to be able to do that when we downshift.”

 
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