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Notre Dame Basketball

Notre Dame Blown Out in Chapel Hill, Falls to 0-5 in ACC

January 7, 2023

The Fighting Irish fell behind by double digits early against North Carolina in the first half on Saturday at North Carolina and never could crawl their way back into the game. 

Notre Dame lost to the Tar Heels 81-64 and drop to 8-8 on the season and 0-5 in the conference play, which is tied for the program’s worst start in the ACC since joining for the 2013-14 season. The Irish also began ACC play 0-5 in 2020-21.

On the bright side, the team’s leading scorer Nate Laszewski returned to form after averaging 6.7 points over the previous three games. He dropped 17 points on 7-10 shooting against the Tar Heels to go along with eight rebounds.

Guards JJ Starling and Dane Goodwin both chipped in 10 points with the latter also grabbing seven boards. 

Marcus Hammond replaced Trey Wertz in the starting lineup and scored seven points on two of eight shooting while dishing out three assists and turning the ball over once. 

The Irish rotation took a hit with freshman Ven-Allen Lubin out due to an ankle injury suffered on Tuesday against Boston College.

His replacements Dom Campbell and Matt Zona did their best to fill in for the talented forward in the post, scoring a combined five points to go with two rebounds. 

Unfortunately for Notre Dame, they struggled on the defensive end. Campbell fouled out in seven minutes of action, while North Carolina big man Armando Bacot lead all players with 21 points and 13 rebounds.

Then in the final five minutes of the game, Cormac Ryan received a Flagrant 2 after he was posterized while attempting to block a Puff Johnson dunk and fell on him afterward. 

While getting to his feet, his knee hit Johnson’s face. It seemed incidental, but Ryan was ejected nonetheless

Turning Point

The Irish led midway through the first half, 18-15. 

Over the next five minutes, North Carolina went on a 16-3 run to go up 10 points. 

The Irish shot 1-4 from the field during that span of time to go along with two missed three throws and four turnovers. 

Ultimately, Notre Dame went into the locker room at halftime trailing the Tar Heels, 41-28.

Stat of the Night

The Tar Heels entered the contest shooting 31.3% from beyond the arc, which ranked 278th of 352 division I men’s basketball programs. 

Yet North Carolina looked like an elite shooting team on Saturday, knocking down eight of the team’s 19 three-point attempts (42.1%). 

Tar Heel guard Caleb Love led North Carolina in shooting, hitting three of his six shots from downtown for half of his 18 points. Many of his three-point shots came on wide-open looks. 

Highlight of the Game

Hammond struggled from the field in his first start of the season, but he made a nice save on the play below, which led directly to a Goodwin fastbreak. 

What’s Next?

Notre Dame returns to Purcell Pavilion on Tuesday, Jan. 10,  with another chance to pick up the program’s first ACC win of the season against Georgia Tech (8-6, 1-3 ACC).

The Yellow Jackets play at Florida State on Saturday afternoon. 

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