Notre Dame Basketball

Mooney Preparing To Defend Home Court

January 4, 2019

It’s been an excellent start for Notre Dame forward John Mooney as he’s averaging close to a double-double (12.6 ppg/9.3 rpg) this season. 

However, the Irish are 0-1 in the ACC and will face a tough and unique task on Saturday afternoon as Syracuse will bring its famous 2-3 zone to Purcell Pavilion. 

“We’re a confident group right now despite the fact we lost this past weekend against Virginia Tech,” stated Mooney. “We’re going to work hard today to get ready for Syracuse. It’s always huge to get a win in this league, especially at home. You have to control home court. 

“We’re confident we can get it done.” 

Syracuse is a hard team to prepare for as the Orange present many challenges to duplicate its defense. 

Most programs don’t have the athleticism and length to stimulate as well as the wrinkles Jim Boeheim throws into it.

“You really can’t simulate their 2-3 zone in practice,” explained Mooney. “They are really long and they play it high, so it’s going to be a matter of ball faking and moving the ball. We have to cut well. Coach will get us ready. We’ll execute and we’re confident.” 

Mike Brey named Mooney a captain last month and Mooney has made it a point to let Notre Dame’s youngsters know it’s a long ACC season, but they have to get a win on the board, especially at home. 

“I’m confident and I have to lead these guys,” Mooney said. “Getting a win and protecting home court is important. We’re going to be aggressive and confident.” 

To get a win on Saturday, Notre Dame will need its offense to start to click, which hasn’t been the case the last two games. 

Notre Dame scored just 63 points against 0-15 Coppin State and 66 points on Tuesday against Virginia Tech. 

“We’re still figuring some stuff out in terms of offense,” explained Mooney. “I think we need to do a better job of moving with and without the ball. We’re a young group and we’re going to get better as time goes on. Defensively, we’re doing well and we have to trust in the process.” 

Mooney believes experience is the key to success which is something the Irish just don’t have at this point in the year. 

“Offensively, we were stagnant against Virginia Tech,” said Mooney. “At certain times we were flowing and hitting open shots. It’s just a matter of putting together a full 40 minutes and with new guys doing new things that will come with time.” 

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