Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Basketball

Irish Hold Off Binghamton 69-56 Behind Durham's Big Night

December 18, 2018

A hot start to the second half helped spark Notre Dame (8-3) to a 69-56 win over Binghamton (3-9) in the first game following senior captain Rex Pflueger’s season-ending injury. 

Notre Dame junior forward Juwan Durham was a significant reason the Irish didn't take its fourth loss of the season as he finished the game with 16 points and 12 rebounds for the first double-double of his career. 

““I’m thrilled for him,” Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said. “A double-double for him is great. We couldn’t make the first shot all night, but he got us some second shots for us and made some plays for us. He blocked a couple shots when we had defensive breakdowns.”

Another big help was a big second half by Gibbs. The junior scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half. John Mooney also recorded another double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. 

“John Mooney continues to be a consistent man for us,” stated Brey. “He’s the same every day.” 

After a cold start first half, Notre Dame came out of the locker room at halftime with some energy. After Binghamton started the second half promising with a jumper by JC Show, the Irish went on an offensive tear. Sparked by back-to-back steals by TJ Gibbs and Prentiss Hubb that led to buckets, the Irish went on a 10-0 run to open their lead to 10, 35-25. 

For much of the second half on the back of Gibbs and Durham, Notre Dame was able to hold a commanding lead until the final buzzer. However, Binghamton never went away. The Bearcats with fewer than five minutes left in the game went on a 7-0 run sparked by a put-back layup by Everson Davis to cut the lead to nine, 57-48. 

Moments later after a Durham bucket to slow the Bearcat run, Binghamton freshman guard Sam Sessoms cut the lead to seven. This was the smallest deficit Binghamton saw after Notre Dame's run to open the second half. 

“I kind of liked we had to play against zone for 40 minutes because we’re going to play a team in early January who will sit in a 2-3 zone,” explained Brey. “We weren’t very good against it in the first half. Between playing against zone and one less ball handler in the floor in (Rex) Pflueger, we were a work in progress the whole night.”

The Irish shot better in the second half and finished the game shooting, 38 percent from the field. The difference was that Notre Dame was able to score 20 points off turnovers and outrebound, Binghamton, 47-34. 

Binghamton shot 41 percent from the field noticeably better than Notre Dame but turned the ball over 15 times which was crucial to the outcome. Sessoms was tremendous and was a big reason why Binghamton was in it until late. He scored a game-high 25 points and also added six rebounds and three assists. 

To open the game, Binghamton came out of the gate strong. Started by a Caleb Stewart layup and ended with a  Show three-pointer, the Bearcats started the game on a 7-0 run. After Show’s three-pointer, Notre Dame got on the board with 16:16 left in the first half with a Gibbs three-pointer from the top of the arch. Moments later, Nate Laszewski hit a long-ball of his own to cut the lead to one, 7-6.

However, Binghamton held the lead with good defense and easy layups until; the Irish were able to tie the game at 15 with a Nikola Djogo with eight minutes left in the first half. Mooney was able to break the tie and give Notre Dame its first lead of the game thirty seconds later when he hit one of two from the line, 16-15. 

For the rest of the half, both teams traded buckets, until Notre Dame was able to go on a 5-0 run to end the first half of play. Durham laid in an easy layup off an offensive rebound to reclaim the lead, 22-21 and forced a steal, ran the court and laid in an easy two off an assist by Gibbs. 

Chase Goodwin finished off the scoring for the Irish. The freshman split a pair of free throws with just less than two minutes left in the half. Notre Dame went into the locker room with a 25-21 lead.

Notre Dame couldn’t solve Binghamton’s zone defense and struggled to put the ball into the basket too much of the first half. The Irish shot just 26 percent from the field. However, rebounding kept the Irish in the game. Notre pulled down 10 offensive rebounds to Binghamton’s one.  Durham paced the Irish with six points and six rebounds in nine minutes. 

Binghamton shot 37 percent from the field in the first half. Sessoms led the Bearcats in scoring in the first half with six points. The freshman also played good defense.

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


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