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Men’s Basketball

Irish descent continues with seventh-straight conference loss

| Monday, February 5, 2018

Notre Dame’s downward spiral continued Saturday, as it picked up its seventh-straight loss, dropping a 76-58 contest to North Carolina State.

The Irish (13-10, 3-7 ACC) failed to get into an offensive rhythm, despite having senior guard Matt Farrell back from his ankle injury. Farrell led with 16 points against the Wolfpack (16-7, 6-4) and fellow sophomore guard T.J. Gibbs followed just behind with 14 points.

Eddie Griesedieck | The Observer

Irish senior forward Martinas Geben stretches for the ball during Notre Dame’s 80-75 loss to Virginia Tech on Jan. 27 at Purcell Pavilion.

Just over three minutes in, Notre Dame already trailed 9-0 to the Wolfpack. The Irish never led during the half and entered the locker room at halftime down 37-21.

“What kills us is that we get some open looks early in the game, and we can’t make them,” Irish head coach Mike Brey said. “For us right now, who we are offensively, we have to make some of those to have a chance.”

The Wolfpack’s lead only continued to grow as they entered the second half. Notre Dame went for extended stretches trying to score points, going on runs of two to five minutes without a field goal in the first half alone, while North Carolina State continued to put points up. The second half was not any better and the 20-point deficit even crept to 30.

“They are really playing well, and we are struggling like heck,” Brey said. “I think you got to give NC State credit defensively. We couldn’t get anything going early in the game and out of the whole time. I think they have a great vibe about them and we don’t.”

The Irish were never able to recover from the lead early on in the game, and they were only able to cut the final margin to 18 points when the clock ran out.

“You look for some silver linings when you are in the midst of what we are in right now,” Brey said. “Matt Farrell looked like the Matt Farrell before the injuries. … So we’ll go home and see if we can scratch out a win against [Boston College]. Maybe we get [sophomore forward John] Mooney back, and maybe we get Farrell into a better practice rhythm.”

With the next game at home against Boston College, Brey hopes the home court advantage can lift the team out of its losing streak.

“We’ve been better offensively at home,” Brey said. “And our crowds have been great, our fans have been fabulous. I think they know that and they think ‘Man they really need us.’ We’ll see if we can get one. One can change the climate a little.”

With eight games before the ACC tournament, Brey said the Irish have talked about their position for the end of the season.

“I talked to them the other day and I put up the standings,” Brey said. “We’ve gotten the double bye a couple times. We aren’t doing that, we’ve got no shot. If we can sneak our way into the middle of the pack, and that middle of the pack is jammed up a little bit. And then you go to Brooklyn and see if you can have some Brooklyn magic and play pretty well in Brooklyn.

“[Senior forward] Bonzie [Colson] possibly can be back with us for the tournament. That’s where we are at with it … There’s always power in our league — you get quality wins. Our numbers are very good but I’m also very realistic of where we are at.”

The Irish will return home to take on the Eagles (14-9, 4-6) at 8 p.m. on Tuesday at Purcell Pavilion.

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About Meagan Bens

Meagan is a junior Visual Communication Design major and Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy minor living in Lyons Hall. She serves as a sports writer and hails from the suburbs of Chicago.

Contact Meagan