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Notre Dame Basketball

Virginia Gets Revenge on Notre Dame 65-53

January 31, 2024

Notre Dame (7-14, 2-8) entered Wednesday’s road game at Virginia (16-5, 7-3) having never won at John Paul Jones Arena. 

The Irish will leave Charlottesville 0-9 all-time at Virginia following an ugly 65-53 loss where Notre Dame turned the ball over 18 times, including three shot clock violations. 

“It was a tough task for us coming in here,” said Notre Dame head coach Micah Shrewsberry. “I’ve never been here. It’s my first game. It’s a tough environment for Notre Dame in general. We know it would be a tough task and we already have a small margin for error. 

“I thought the way they shot the ball and the way we turned it over wasn’t a recipe for success.” 

Virginia was looking for revenge from the 76-54 loss in South Bend, and despite a slow start from both teams, the Cavaliers found momentum toward the end of the first half behind Jacob Groves, who finished with a game-high 18 points. 

“We didn’t guard him any different in game one to game two,” said Shrewsberry. “He and (Ryan) Dunn were both starting. We guarded him with the same people and how we started the last game. He just got free and communication mistakes - once you hit one, you start feeling good.

“Once you let a guy get in rhythm, it makes it really tough.” 

Groves went 5-for-6 from three-point range in the first 20 minutes as the Irish had no answer for the graduate student. Virginia also forced nine first-half turnovers and scored 10 points off Notre Dame’s sloppy play. 

The Cavaliers hit nine first half treys and took a commanding 38-23 lead into the break. 

In the second half, Notre Dame did find a way to cut the lead to eight multiple times, but the Irish turned the ball over and couldn’t take control, which led to a fifth-straight loss. 

“We’ve just been really trying to focus on executing what I’m supposed to do,” explained Shrewsberry. “Doing my job as much as possible. I thought we had lapses in that and every time we didn’t do it, they capitalized and punished us. We did it more to start the second half. There’s some human nature involved. You go in with a pretty good lead and some teams take their foot off the gas. 

“We were ready and fired up to go. We just forced some of those turnovers and it helped us. We were more locked in early on. I thought we were really good defensively when we were fresh and I thought we were pretty poor when we got tired.” 

The bright spot of the game was Braeden Shrewsberry, who finished with 16 points and 10 of those came in the second half. Shrewsberry has now scored in double figures in four straight ACC games. 

Markus Burton was his normal self, finishing with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Notre Dame did shoot 47 percent from the field and 50 percent from three, but the efficient shooting was canceled out by the 18 turnovers. 

“It may not seem like it, but I thought we executed a lot better than we have coming in,” said Shrewsberry. “We scored 53 points, which isn’t setting the world on fire, but it is Virginia. They do that to people. They just squeeze the life out of you defensively and make it really hard for you. 

“I thought Logan Imes making his first start, three points, five rebounds, three assists, and one turnover in 30 minutes is, to me, something to build off of. Markus and Braeden scored 33 points on 21 shots - both efficient - against this defensive team. These dudes ain’t ever been here before. Notre Dame has never won here. There’s three freshmen who are doing impressive things. I think they're getting stronger as the year goes on.

“We’re going to keep competing. That’s the only thing I got in my DNA. Right now, we’re finding out who else is going to compete in that same exact manner.” 

Notre Dame was unable to get anything going with its bigs, which has been a normal occurrence in ACC play. Kebba Njie finished the night with 0 points on one shot attempt, four rebounds and four turnovers. Freshman Carey Booth, who came off the bench, finished with four points and one rebound in 10 minutes of action. 

Notre Dame will travel to Pitt (12-8, 3-6) on Saturday. Tip is set for 6:00 PM ET. 

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