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Notre Dame Basketball

Auburn Cruises By Notre Dame 83-59 in Legends Classic

November 16, 2023

Notre Dame (1-2) struggled to get off to fast starts in the first two games of the season and it was much the same on Wednesday night in Brooklyn as Auburn (2-1) cruised 83-59 in the Legends Classic at the Barclays Center. 

Auburn came out firing taking a quick 11-2 lead before the first media timeout and then used a 13-0 run out of halftime to counter a strong first half finish by the Irish. 

“We got beat by a better team, a more physical team and a more talented team,” stated Shrewsberry. “We made a run and got it close at halftime and then we took our foot off the gas. We started the second half really poorly.” 

Irish freshman Braeden Shrewsberry led the Irish with 10 points in the first 20 minutes as Notre Dame fought back to cut a 14-point hole to 39-33 at halftime. Perhaps the most surprising piece to the first half was Notre Dame dominated the boards 21-13 over a much bigger and longer Auburn team. 

Shrewsberry would finish with 10 points and three rebounds. 

The grind-it-out style of the first half by Notre Dame was quickly trumped by Auburn as the Tigers took a commanding 50-33 lead less than three minutes after the break. 

It wouldn’t get much better from there as Auburn controlled the boards 22-14 in the half and outscored the Irish 24-12 in the paint. To make matters worse for Shrewberry’s Irish, Notre Dame would finish just 2-for-26 from three-point range in the game, including 0-13 in the second half. 

Notre Dame needed the game to turn into a halfcourt affair, but the blueprint is out on Shrewberry’s squad three games into the year as Auburn made the Irish play iso ball. The Irish finished the game shooting just 34 percent from the field and had just nine assists. 

The season is still young, but Notre Dame’s lackluster three-point shooting is starting to be a point of concern. Through three games, the Irish are just 13-for-69 from deep on the year, including Thursday’s eight percent effort. 

“All these games are learning experiences for us,” explained Shrewsberry. “It’s November 16th. We weren’t going to be our best on November 16th. I’m not trying to be. Nobody is their best on November 16th. We have a lot of season left and we have a lot of things to learn from. We have to be able to learn from things like this and we’re going to keep getting better. If we don’t learn, this will happen a lot more.” 

Junior JR Konieczny was one of the few bright spots for Notre Dame as he recorded a career-high 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting and 11 boards on the night. The South Bend native led the Irish in both categories. 

Freshman point guard Markus Burton entered the night averaging 23.0 ppg on 48.6 percent shooting from the field, but the athleticism and length of Auburn made life tough. Burton finished the night with 12 points on 4-of-20 shooting from the field. Sophomore Tae Davis added 13 points and six rebounds for the Irish. 

“We want to attack,” Shrewsberry stated. “We want to try to get the defense in rotation. I thought we didn’t do it enough because we didn’t play the right way for long stretches. Once we start attacking the basket, it’s something we can do. We can’t dribble a whole bunch. We have to move it and then attack closeouts. 

“I thought too many times we had guys just dribbling and dribbling. That’s not going to work. That’s not a recipe for success.” 

Five Tigers scored in double-figures as freshman star Aden Holloway and star Johni Broome led the way with 15 points each while Jaylin Williams added 11 as Auburn flexed its depth at times, which Shrewsberry noticed late in the second half. 

“They’re good,” said Shrewsberry. “How long has Bruce Pearl been at Auburn? 10 years or something? You get a chance to get two of everything. You get a chance to do that. I don’t know what happened his first year, but he probably had more than four people when he showed up in the door. 

“It’s not the first time I’ve played people with depth. We’re going to fight and compete. We held our own on the glass. We didn’t shoot the ball very well. We gotta play better. They had two of everything, so they didn’t sub at the end. They were kicking our ass and kept their guys in the whole time. That told me the difference right there. They can leave Johni Broome in when they’re up 25-27 points and leave him in until three minutes left in the game - try to get his numbers up I guess.” 

UP NEXT: Notre Dame will face Oklahoma State (1-2) in the consolation game on Friday at 4:30 PM ET. 

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