Irish visit Hurricanes seeking second-straight win
Joe Everett | Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Aiming to build off its 79-73 win over Boston College, Notre Dame continues its road trip this Wednesday as the team heads down to Coral Gables, Florida, to take on Miami.
The Irish (12-10, 2-7 ACC) were led on Saturday by junior guard Nikola Djogo, who scored a career-high 21 points to lead Notre Dame over Boston College for its second win over the Eagles this season. Now, the Irish look to build a little momentum with a second-straight win as it prepares to take on another struggling ACC opponent in Miami.
This will be the 23rd meeting between the two programs, the all-time series tied at 11-11. Both teams are experiencing down years, as the Hurricanes (9-12, 1-8 ACC) have lost five-straight games and sit at second-to-last in the ACC standings, just above Wake Forest. While Miami has certainly faced the gauntlet of ACC play thus far in its schedule, the Hurricanes also have losses against Rutgers, Yale and Penn in the non-conference portion of their schedule. Miami has especially struggled on the defensive side of the ball this season, and currently ranks 94th overall in KenPom (77th in offense, 130th in defense).
However, one bright spot for the Hurricanes this season has been 5-foot-7 sophomore point guard Chris Lykes, who has emerged as the leading scorer and distributor for Miami, recording 16.7 points and 3.4 assists per game. A quick and shifty player, he averages 1.5 steals per contest and shoots 32.5 percent from deep.
On Wednesday, Lykes will battle against a familiar face: Irish freshman point guard Prentiss Hubb. The two were high school teammates at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C, and helped lead the Eagles to the 2017 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title while combining for 843 points with 112 assists.
Irish head coach Mike Brey commented last week on Hubb’s importance, discussing his role on the Irish offense and his leadership ability.
“He has to go look to score for us,” Brey said of Hubb on Thursday. “Driving it to the hole, making plays. He and Dane [Goodwin] have the ability to go get a shot and make a play and kind of break the pattern, and so I want [Hubb] to build on that. … He’s got a great voice. He pretty much is our point guard … guys look to him, and so he kind of needs to be a leader even now at the end of his freshman year.”
The Irish junior forward has recorded a double-double in eight straight games, and is now averaging one for the season (14.5 points and 10.9 rebounds) — the only ACC player to do so. Mooney is now tied for fourth all-time at Notre Dame for consecutive double-doubles, Luke Harangody’s record of 11 in the 2008-09 season now within sight.
Mooney is now the first player since Tim Duncan for Wake Forest in 1996-97 to record eight-straight double-doubles. The 6-foot-9 junior forward has made a significant improvement in his game this season, having averaged only 5.6 points per game last season.
The Irish and the Hurricanes are scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. at the Watsco Center.