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Notre Dame Basketball

Notre Dame Ends Long Season With 75-53 Loss To Louisville

March 13, 2019

After an upset first-round win against Georgia Tech on Tuesday afternoon, a season of rebuilding comes to an end in the second round of the ACC Tournament for Notre Dame.

10 days ago Notre Dame played Louisville and was defeated by double-digits, on Wednesday night met for the second time this season and the results were the same.

Once again Notre Dame was dominated in the paint and was outperformed on the glass which led to easy points for Louisville. Cold shooting due to tough defense made it impossible for the Irish to keep pace with the Cardinals and they were defeated 75-53 inside the Spectrum Center in Charlotte.

“I thought Louisville was really good and just kind of wore us down physically,” stated Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey. “We didn't have much left in the tank. Louisville, especially on the offensive boards really hurt us as they did in Louisville 10 days ago.”

Down nine going into halftime Notre Dame had a sense of hope after keeping Louisville in check for the last four minutes of the first half. Coming out of the halftime both teams went back and forth trading buckets. That was until back to back offensive rebounds by Jordan Nwora and Dwayne Sutton led to easy buckets to pace a quick 6-0 run early in the second half. Louisville led 44-31 with 16:02 to go in regulation.

Moments later TJ Gibbs ended the run with a runner he got to go, but it was countered by a pair of three-pointers by Cardinal sharp-shooter Ryan McMahon. This extended the lead to 19, 52-33. It wasn’t their largest lead of the game, but it took all the life out of the Irish.

Notre Dame couldn’t find a rhythm for the rest of the game and Louisville held a double-digit lead for the rest of the game.

“You can talk about you're not shooting well, you didn't make shots,” explained Brey. “That's Louisville. They really do guard you. It was different than -- Georgia Tech played us zone so you could move a little freer and you got looks. The looks we got, there was somebody athletically closing out all the time. And that's how they play. Chris has done a fabulous job, and they really have physicality. I mean, they have got bodies that can get out to you.

“What you think is a good shot, I'm not sure we had as many good shots as we thought.”

The Irish shot just 27 percent from the field (18-67) and was out-rebounded 50-38. Gibbs led the way with 21 points for the Irish. Juwan Durham added 12 points and nine rebounds. John Mooney came up just shy of his 21st double-double with seven points and 12 rebounds.

Louisville shot 39 percent from the field (26-66) and had six blocked shots. Nwora led the way with 24 points and nine rebounds.

It started promising Notre Dame got started quickly on the offensive end and got five points each from the two juniors Gibbs, and Mooney. Both hit a shot from long range and a long jumper. This gave the Irish a 10-6 lead with 16:49 left in the first half.

Led by Nwora, Louisville went on a 22-2 run over the next eight minutes and 25 seconds of the first half. The Cardinals led 28-12 with 8:24 to go in the first half. Notre Dame shot 0-13 from the field during the run and a pair of free throws from Prentiss Hubb was the only offense for the Irish during that stretch.

However, despite the poor shooting the Irish led by Gibbs clawed back into the game. In the midst of the huge Cardinal run, Gibbs drew a foul on a three-point attempt. He cashed in on all three chances from the line. They got the lead down to nine going into the locker room, 34-25.  Louisville didn’t have a field goal for the last four minutes before going into halftime. Gibbs scored seven of the Irish’s last 13 points in the last eight minutes of the first half.

Notre Dame was awful shooting the basketball in the first half. They shot 21 percent (7-33) from the field and free throws helped keep them in the game. They cashed in on nine of the 12 attempts at the line that they were granted.

Gibbs led the way with 12 points. Mooney contributed five points and eight rebounds.

Louisville shot 35 percent from the field in the first half (12-34). They were led by Nwora who chipped in 16 first-half points and brought down six rebounds.

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