Photo by Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Notre Dame Basketball

UCLA Gets The Final Run Over Notre Dame

December 9, 2018

It was a game of runs, and well, it was just plain weird. UCLA (7-2) held off an incredible second half surge Notre Dame (6-3) from Notre Dame to win 65-62 on a three-pointer with 0.9 seconds left from Kris Wilkes. 

“Very proud of our team," stated Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey. "We took some big punches on the road in our first road atmosphere. I loved we gave ourselves a chance to win. You have to give credit to UCLA. They made some big plays at key times. 

“I think we got better this week even though we don’t have a win to show for it.” 

Wilkes finished the game with 14 points, but the story was Notre Dame’s offense. The Irish didn’t score for the last 7:40 seconds of the first half and almost two minutes into the second half before Rex Pflueger knocked in a three-pointer to end the drought. 

Pflueger finished the night with 14 points, six rebounds and four assists.

“Usually when you bring a guy home, he’s a mess," explained Brey. "Rex Pflueger was a warrior the whole night. I’m very proud of him. He’s disappointed because he wanted his team to get a win tonight. Rex is a big-time winner. To come in with 200 family and friends for him to play his backside off, it was  fabulous.” 

Notre Dame proceeded to go on a 9-0 run to cut the Bruins lead to 39-35 with just over 15 minutes to play.  UCLA sophomore point guard Jaylen Hands took over as he scored nine of the next 11 points for the Bruins to push the lead to 50-43 with 11:10 left in the contest. 

Hands ended the game with 12 points, five rebounds and a game-high 11 assists. 

The Irish offense then caught fire. Trailing 53-45, Notre Dame ripped off 14-1 run over the next four minutes. DJ Harvey scored nine of his 13 points during the run, while Prentiss Hubb nailed to free throws to give the Irish the lead. 

Pflueger, a Southern Cal native, nailed his fourth three-pointer of the game to give the Irish a 62-57 lead with 3:39 but that was it for the Irish. 

UCLA ripped off an 8-0 run to end the game, which included the game-winning three-pointer by Wilkes. 

John Mooney continued his hot streak as he finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds for his ACC-leading fifth double-double of the season. 

“John keeps getting better and better," said Brey. "He’s become a key guy for us. He rebounds with anyone and scores a little bit. We want to keep getting him confident.” 

It was a rough first half for the Irish as they shot just 22% from the field, 20% from downtown and were outrebounded by 15 to go along with the 7:40 scoring drought. 

“It stings like heck, but I think we got better this week," Brey said. "We don’t have a win to show for it, but we got better. 

"We have to keep preparing and trying to get a little bit older. We have to get some more experience. I’m very proud of our team to come out here and have a chance to win in a tough atmosphere.” 

Notre Dame finished the game shooting just 36% from the field, but UCLA was even worse at 35%. The Bruins made up for the shooting woes on the glass as they outrebounded Notre Dame 52-40, including 18-9 on the offensive glass. The 18 offensive rebounds gave the UCLA 16 second-chance points to Notre Dame’s 12. 

Notre Dame will return to action next Saturday at the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis against Purdue. 

Irish Sports Daily
Final Box Score
Irish Sports Daily
Final Notre Dame Stats


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