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Notre Dame Basketball

Notre Dame Offense Goes Cold in Coral Gables

December 2, 2023

If you’re looking to watch a gritty team that plays with high effort, Notre Dame (3-4) is your team. 

If you’re looking for efficient offense and exciting offensive basketball, Notre Dame isn’t that team. 

The Irish shot just 29 percent from the field as No. 8 Miami (6-1) pulled away 62-49 on Saturday afternoon. 

For Micah Shrewsberry’s squad, the loss was similar to other losses as the Irish offense disappeared at key stretches and allowed Miami to build a lead too big to cut into. 

Notre Dame started fast taking a 10-5 lead into the first media timeout as JR Konieczny hit two early treys. Braeden Shrewsberry also hits two threes off the bench in first half, including one to put the Irish up 20-19 with 7:25 left in the first 20 minutes. 

Konieczny would lead the Irish with 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting, while Shrewsberry would finish with six points, including going 2-for-10 from three. 

Then the Irish went cold as they wouldn’t score until the 3:21 mark and Miami capitalized by taking the lead at 31-22. 

“Good coach,” stated Shrewsberry. “Good team. Good players. You got to try and do stuff to limit what they do. Obviously, transition is a huge part of it. I thought we played really well. There was a stretch in the first half where they got out in transition way too much. That ended up being the difference pretty much. 

“Any time we had a chance to make any kind of noise, we turned it over or we let them get in transition. We gotta be better, but that’s what good teams do to you.” 

The second major scoring drought for the Irish came over the final 5:21 of the game as Konieczny nailed his fourth three of the game, but Notre Dame would fail to score again. 

Perhaps the positive for Notre Dame is the fact they held Miami 26 points under its season average and out-rebounded the Hurricanes 39-37.

Sophomore forward Tae Davis also continued his solid play as he scored 12 points and pulled down 10 boards on the day. 

“We can guard,” Shrewsberry stated. “Even for a group of freshmen and sophomores, I don’t know if any of them are 21. Maybe one of them, but they’re believing in what we’re talking about. We’re sitting in a stance and guarding. Transition killed us. For a team that’s so good at shooting threes, 7-for-18 - some of those were mistakes on rotations and transition. 

“It’s gotta give you some belief. For us to come in here and out-rebound them. We’re even in turnovers. We made one less three than them and I know we shot a boatload of them and we shot more free throws. It’s all positive. There aren’t any moral victories. We have to learn from this and keep getting better.” 

Despite the poor shooting effort, 16-for-63 from the floor and 6-for-32 from three, Shrewsberry remained confident his team is growing and eliminating key stretches without points is going to be a point of emphasis moving forward. 

“You can’t doubt our effort,” explained Shrewsberry. “With the young guys, we’re sustaining physical effort, but we have to sustain mental focus for longer periods. That’s where these last two games is where it’s gotten us. We had a stretch against South Carolina where we were in the game and one stretch killed you. The same exact thing here. One stretch kind of kills you. I think we’ll continue to get better in that area, but coming here and playing this way against this team, all you’re looking for is belief. We’re getting more and more of it as we keep playing well in difficult environments.” 

Freshman point guard Markus Burton entered the game averaging 16.3 points per game and was held to just six points on 3-of-11 shooting. The last two games have been a struggle from the floor and Burton is now 3-for-23 from three-point range this season, but his head coach isn’t discouraged as there is plenty on his plate. 

“They hard hedge,” said Shrewsberry. “He was really focused on getting around the hedge and moving the ball for us. He started the offense for us. We ask a lot of him. He was more of how we needed him to play. I thought he did a good job of it. He had six assists and got it moving and got other guys shots. We have to make more shots.” 

Matthew Cleveland led Miami with 14 points and five rebounds, while Norchad Omier added 13 points and 13 boards. 

Notre Dame will host Western Michigan on Tuesday night at 7:00 PM ET. 

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