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Men’s Basketball: Hoyas overpower Irish in Purcell

By Andrew Gastelum | Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Purcell Pavilion is usually the place that solves No. 24 Notre Dame’s Big East woes. Instead, following a 63-47 beatdown at the hands of Georgetown on Monday, Irish coach Mike Brey couldn’t get away any faster after dropping two of the last three at home.

“I told [my team] after the game that I don’t really have much to say, because I don’t really know where to start,” Brey said. “We’re going to need some new juice. And maybe getting away from here and going on the road will help us. I’m sure going to sell that.”

Notre Dame trailed throughout the night, only leading 2-0 a minute and a half into the game. By the 10-minute mark of the first half, the Irish trailed by 13 while shooting just 30 percent compared to Georgetown’s 59.1 percent. Notre Dame went the last 5:40 of the first half without a field goal.

The Irish (15-4, 3-3 Big East) suffered through three scoring droughts of at least four minutes apiece, with the longest drought coming after they cut the Hoyas’ (13-4, 3-3) lead to three with 12:01 left in the game.

Soon after a 10-0 Irish run at the start of the second half, senior forward Tom Knight hit a turnaround jumper followed by a steal from junior guard Jerian Grant, who found sophomore forward Pat Connaughton for a reverse layup to cut the Hoya lead to 40-37 with 12:01 left.

It was the loudest the building got all night, as Georgetown followed a timeout with an 18-0 run that lasted until Grant broke Notre Dame’s 7:26 scoreless streak with a layup.

“It was an eerie feeling to be out of it for the last ten minutes of the game in our home building,” Brey said. “It was creepy. It was not pleasant. It was very foreign territory for all of us.”

At one point late in the second half the Hoyas led by 22, while holding Notre Dame to 47 points, the fewest points it has ever scored at home in a Big East game.

“We would guard them well for stretches but then they would hit a big shot,” senior forward Jack Cooley said. “We didn’t brush it off and keep going like we’ve done in the past.

“We haven’t been able to take punches as well in these last couple of games.”

Georgetown sophomore forward Otto Porter seemed to smother every Irish run, recording 19 points including 3-for-4 shooting from 3-point range. Porter, alone, knocked down more 3-pointers than the Irish did as a whole. Notre Dame went 2-for-16 from beyond the arc and missed its last six.

“Tonight, clearly [Porter] was the best player on the floor,” Grant said. “He could definitely do it all. He was hitting his threes … He was doing it all tonight. Maybe if we see him again, we’ll have a different game plan.”

Grant led the way for the Irish with 13 points on 6-for-13 shooting, while Cooley recorded his 12th double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Meanwhile, freshman forward Cameron Biedscheid had a rough night shooting, going 0-for-8 from the field.

After starting Big East play with two wins, including a big road win over then-No. 21 Cincinnati, the Irish have fallen to 3-3, wedged into a five-way tie for fifth in the conference

“I don’t think I could put my finger on it at all, on what’s changed [since Cincinnati],” junior captain Eric Atkins said. “If anything, we all got a little cocky after starting the Big East 2-0. We need to all come back to earth and say to ourselves that we aren’t that good right now.”

Contact Andrew Gastelum at agastel1@nd.edu