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Notre Dame Basketball

Boston Massacre: Eagles dump Notre Dame in crushing loss

February 27, 2021

It's been more than three years – 1,193 days to be precise – since Notre Dame basketball's last win against a nationally ranked opponent.

This, however, was no top-25 meltdown.

On Saturday, the Fighting Irish lost to a team with a consensus sub-250 nationally ranking.

Against not just the worst team in the Atlantic Coast Conference but a team so bad it fired its coach mid-month, Notre Dame did not have to worry about preserving a lead as it has failed to do so many times this season.

The Irish were never in that position.

They fell, 94-90, to Boston College (4-13, 2-9) inside the Conte Forum.

The Eagles shot 53% from the floor and made 32 trips to the free-throw line; they outscored the Irish, 9-2, in second-chance points and led more than 38 minutes.

“No, no, no. It was a mirage,” ND coach Mike Brey said of his team's defense. “Matador. Olè. Olè. We just moved the cape and they shot layups. It was not good.

“We had made some progress earlier this month in that stretch. That was a little bit of the old habits in December. They know it. We didn't have a lot of punch there.”

Nine different times in the first half, the lowly Eagles led by 10 or more points. They led by as many as 12 in the second half before Notre Dame (9-13, 6-10) whittled its deficit to two on a pair of late-game situations.

The Eagles had entered the game with a real-time RPI rank of No. 266 and 276th RPI placement from CBS.

In the triumph, interim BC coach Scott Spinelli got his first career win as an NCAA Division I head coach and the program won just its 14th ACC game in its last 50 outings.

It's the most points for the Eagles in an ACC win since they scored 96 against Syracuse on New Year's Day 2017.

“I was worried about today just overall,” Brey said. “We took some punches last week. The Syracuse game certainly took a lot out of your sails, psychologically.

“Basically what I worried about, played out. We're beaten up a little bit, man. We were beaten up a little bit physically after the Louisville game. We had four guys fall on their backside in the Louisville game. All clean plays; nothing dirty. But we kind of limped out of there and maybe we kind of limped into here.”

Notre Dame needed to win its final three regular-season games to avoid another losing season – its second in three years. It now has lost three games in a row.

The Irish got a game-best 28 points from Prentiss Hubb, but once BC broke an early 3-all tie, Notre Dame trailed for the game's final 38 minutes, 31 seconds.

The Eagles had not played a game since Feb. 13 and had not won a contest since a Jan. 12 win against Miami.

With a revamped starting lineup for senior day and its first game under Spinelli, Boston College “shocked” its guests from the outset.

“I think they just came out with a little bit different intensity, not playing for a couple weeks,” Hubb, who had seven assists and just one turnover, said. “And I think they kind of shocked us with the ball-movement and intensity that they had.

“For me and a bunch of the guys, we've been here before. Freshman year, we were worse than what we are now. We've been at the bottom, so we know how to get out of that slump.”

Jay Heath led a quartet of Eagles in double figures with 19 points; Makai Ashton-Langford and Frederick Scott each had 18. Demarr Langford added 17.

The Irish shot it well from the floor, where they connected on 58% of their shots but were just 7-for-23 from 3-point range; they also made just 10 trips to the line and were outscored by 16 points, 23-7, in charity tosses.

Trey Wertz and Dane Goodwin combined for 30 points off the bench for the Irish, who also got 12 from Juwan Durham and 10 from Nate Laszewski.

Now, if the schedule holds, Notre Dame will close its regular season with consecutive home games in league play for the first time all year. The Irish are scheduled to host N.C. State Wednesday at 7 p.m. (ACC Network) and conclude regular-season play next Saturday at noon against Florida State (ESPN2).

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