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Notre Dame Basketball

Boston Meltdown, Notre Dame Falls 63-59 to BC

January 15, 2024

Notre Dame  (7-11, 2-5) has figured out how to start and even finish the first 20 minutes of basketball games. 

The Fighting Irish have not figured out how to start or finish the final 20 minutes. 

On Monday, Notre Dame led 36-29 at the half, but self-destructed in the second half and fell 63-59 to Boston College (11-6, 2-4). 

"First off, congrats to Boston College,” stated Notre Dame head coach Micah Shrewsberry. “Hard-fought win. I thought they were the more aggressive team in the second half and that showed. Our turnovers picked up and that was the game." 

How bad was the second half? 

Notre Dame lost the lead less than three minutes into the half courtesy an 8-0 run by Boston College out of the gate. 

"We've been poor to start the second half,” Shrewsberry said. “Poor. That's cost us. We can't keep coming back to the well and coming back to the locker room like, 'Man, that's a game we should have won.' You could say that about NC State, Duke, Florida State. We start the second half poorly. We dig ourselves a hole and we're not as good as these other teams in the league right now.

“We have a bunch of freshmen and sophomores that are playing versus juniors and seniors. Our margin for error is smaller, so we can't do those things to put ourselves in a hole every single time. It's gotta change." 

Shrewsberry’s club shot 29.2 percent from the field, 25 percent from deep and committed 10 turnovers, which led to 12 Boston College points. And for good measure, Boston College big man Quinten Post scored 15 of his 17 points in the final 20 minutes. 

"We were playing the right way,” Shrewsberry explained. “They just got more physical in the second half and we didn't execute well. They were just a more physical team. I thought they amped up their pressure a little bit more.

“They turned up their pressure. It wasn't anything different we did offensive or they did defensively except for that. They turned up their pressure and we turned it over and panicked.” 

Turnovers and defensive lapses aside, Notre Dame’s offense failed in crunch time. Tae Davis, who returned from a sprained ankle to score six points, hit a layup with 7:06 remaining in the game to push the Irish lead to 52-49. 

Notre Dame wouldn’t score another field goal until Markus Burton hit a layup with 14 seconds to play to cut the Boston College lead to 61-59. 

The Irish had a chance to tie the game following Burton missing a free throw, but Carey Booth’s three rimmed out. 

"We got a good look, but don't put yourself in that position,” Shrewsberry said. “We did some good things to get that ball and get into that position. We also had 1-and-1 free throws in a tie game and we missed them. We're missing free throws, turning the ball and that's losing us games." 

Burton, as usual, led Notre Dame in scoring with 19 points on 8-for-16 shooting, including 15 points in the first half. The freshman point guard struggled in the second half as Burton was just 1-for-5 from the field, but he also committed seven turnovers. 

On the other side, Jaeden Zackery scored a game-high 20 points and played physical defense Burton to force the turnovers. 

Shrewsberry wasn’t pleased with the officials and let some of his frustrations out. Burton’s turnovers are problematic, but Shrewsberry made it clear his point guard isn’t getting the calls veterans are getting in ACC play. 

“I thought our point guard was getting bonked and rode,” said Shrewsberry. “I can't wait till the day he's a senior and he gets some of the calls the seniors in this league get. Right now, he doesn't. He's in foul trouble a lot. People bump him and get fouls on him. People bump him in the open court and he never gets a call. They were more physical and they probably knew that going in. Young fella isn't going to get a call, so be more physical with him and get him to turn it over.” 

Another concern for Notre Dame is free throw shooting. The Irish shot 27 percent from the foul line during Saturday’s loss to Florida State and followed it up shooting 60 percent against the Eagles. 

The ACC Freshman of the Week, Braeden Shrewsberry, had another solid game with 12 points and was the only player to join Burton in double figures. 

Notre Dame also dominated the boards 44-28 with Carey Booth leading the way with 13 rebounds. Julian Roper II and Kebba Njie pulled down 10 boards each. 

Notre Dame will have some time to regroup following the loss as the Irish won’t take the court until January 24th when Miami (12-4, 3-2) comes to South Bend for a 7:00 PM ET tip on ESPN2. The Hurricanes beat Notre Dame 62-49 in December. 

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