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Notre Dame Basketball

Notre Dame 2-16 in ACC Play Following 66-58 Loss to Wake Forest

February 25, 2023

There have been several ugly moments for Notre Dame (10-19, 2-16) this season, but Saturday’s 66-58 loss to Wake Forest (18-11, 10-8) might take the cake. 

Wake Forest didn’t hit a field goal over the last 4:59 of the game and the Irish still lost by eight and didn’t choose to foul down nine with under a minute left to play. 

Notre Dame started the game 4-for-4 from three-point range, but it was short-lived as the Irish finished 1-for-16 from deep. 

Mike Brey’s team did challenge Wake Forest at points as the Irish trailed 39-36 at half, but went cold for a large portion of the final 20 minutes and leading to a seventh straight loss. 

“In that second half, it was challenging and Wake had a lot to do with it,” Notre Dame associate head coach Anthony Solomon said following the game as Brey did not speak. “The game is meant for 40 minutes. Again, we were in a situation at halftime where it was a one-possession game and then in the second half while we were still able to get our share of stops, but they got too many stops on us.”

Wake Forest held a 41-40 lead following a bucket from Notre Dame forward Ven-Allen Lubin at the 18:29 mark in the second half. The Irish went stone cold as Wake Forest would go on a 13-2 run over the next eight minutes to take a double-digit lead with under 10 minutes to play. 

“Give Wake credit,” said Solomon. “I think the defense had a lot to do with it. We’re at our best when we can move the ball and make great decisions with it.” 

Wake Forest may have ramped up the defense, but the Irish still missed open shots as they hit just 29 percent from the floor in the second half. 

Notre Dame also couldn’t stop Wake Forest guard Tyree Appby as he scored a game-high 21 points as he went 5-for-12 from three-point range while dishing out six assists. 

11 turnovers also haunted the Irish on Saturday night, but the Demon Deacons scored just four points off the takeaways. Yet, it was costly as Notre Dame didn’t get shots up, which led to just nine assists for the game. 

“Ven-Allen Lubin did a good job around the rim rolling,” Solomon stated. “Many nights when we have more turnovers than we do assists, it’s probably not a good night for us.” 

Lubin was the bright spot for Notre Dame as he recorded a career-high 19 points on 9-of-13 from the field while adding eight boards. 

Solomon believes Lubin getting healthier after dealing with some foot/ankle issues over the course of the year has led to productive outings this month. 

“The different injuries he’s had throughout the season I think it slowed his progress in terms of the area of consistency,” explained Solomon. “Tonight, he had a really good face-up drive from 17 feet. There’s more versatility to his game. I think over time, he’s going to be a really good college basketball player. I’m really proud of what he did tonight.” 

The Irish were missing key pieces on offense as JJ Starling and Marcus Hammond missed the game due to injuries. Notre Dame failed to get its veterans to step up as Dane Goodwin and Nate Laszewski combined for 13 points on 2-of-16 from the field. 

Fifth-year senior guard Trey Wertz recorded 12 points, six rebounds and five assists, but he also turned the ball over three times. Classmate Cormac Ryan also chipped in 12 points and four rebounds, but fouled out in the final minute. 

“40 minutes is what it’s about,” said Solomon. “We weren’t able to put it together again tonight on both ends.” 

Notre Dame will return to Purcell Pavilion for Brey’s last home game on Wednesday as Pitt comes to South Bend. The Panthers stand at the top of the ACC with a 14-4 conference record. Tip is set for 7:00 PM ET on ESPNU. 

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