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Notre Dame Basketball

Blown out, booed off: Notre Dame falls; Brey booed

March 3, 2021
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It was all so unfamiliar.

Except, of course, the end result Wednesday night inside Purcell Pavilion.

For the first time in this 2020-21 college basketball season, Notre Dame elected to allow students into the game in addition to players' family members and other personnel.

The Fighting Irish even had the school's cheerleading and dance squads in the stands.

None of it mattered in a season that cannot soon enough end for Notre Dame, an 80-69 loser in this game that ended with a brief chorus of “Fire Brey!” chants from the east baseline stands between the Florida State and Georgia Tech tunnels.

“Well, you know, I'm committed here and I'm certainly committed to this group, how it finishes for us this year,” ND coach Mike Brey said, when asked about the chants and his future. “We do have a good group coming back and we have a real good big guy coming. I've thought about that a lot as we have dug through a little bit of everything.

“You know I'm also realistic about the big picture of things, too. You want to continue to be effective here. I don't need to be told if I'm not being effective. I'm a pretty good judge of that. So that was well warranted by our students, because that was a poor performance. They should have been on me.”

This campaign will, in regular-season terms, end Saturday, when the Fighting Irish host Florida State. At 9-14, and 6-11 in Atlantic Coast Conference play, they are assured of their second losing season in three years and their third campaign of 15 or more losses in the past four seasons.

Transfer-guard Cormac Ryan, who had nine points and matched Nate Laszewski with a team-high nine rebounds, said the Fighting Irish are united.

“I don't think, you know, that's not even being considered in our locker room,” Ryan said of the students' sentiments to fire Brey. “We're playing for each other. We all know we have each other's backs.”

In an remarkably embarrassing stretch in a season with no shortage of them, the Irish trailed by 12 or more points for all but 70 seconds in the game's final 15 minutes. They trailed by as many as 19 off an emphatic dunk from D.J. Funderburk, a redshirt-senior who saw a trio of freshmen – Cam Hayes, Shakeel Moore and Dereon Seabron combine for 45 points in the blowout-win.

All this at home. To the Pack, who earlier this season lost to both Miami and St. Louis but now have won five in a row to conclude their regular season.

Notre Dame trailed for the game's final 32:51. Days after he lamented his team's “Olé” defense, Brey saw his Irish allow State to shoot 54% from the field (33-for-61) and maul them in the interior with 38 points in the paint.

“Well, we were outplayed by some men on both ends of the floor,” Brey said. “… They're playing great. They're a physical tough group of kids that kind of put it on us today, both ends.”

Notre Dame led, once. For 19 seconds. Juwan Durham opened the game's scoring with an emphatic dunk. He finished with 10 points and five boards in his penultimate home game.

He will be honored prior to Saturday's noon tip against Florida State (ESPN2) alongside Nik Djogo.

Prentiss Hubb added a team-best 14 points and Trey Wertz contributed a dozen.

 
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