Notre Dame earns 3rd win of season with 10-point win over Marshall
Inigo Yturralde | Monday, November 18, 2019
On Friday, Notre Dame competed against Marshall University in their fourth game of the season. The matchup took place in the Purcell Pavilion, where a decisive 74-64 victory helped to elevate the team’s record to 3-1 for the season.
The Irish never trailed for the entire game. They went up on Marshall (1-2, 0-0 C-USA) after 53 seconds of play, at which point senior forward Juwan Durham was fouled and made both free throws.
After the game, head coach Mike Brey offered his initial thoughts on the victory.
“I never thought that it was going to be easy against those guys. I was surprised that we were up like that early in the game. They have bodies, those athletic ACC kind of bodies. So, since Carolina, that was going to be a test. I love that we figured out a way to escape. That is how we are going to have to play. We guarded well enough to get out of there and [senior forward John Mooney] was superhuman out there, obviously.”
Mooney put up All-Star numbers against the Bison. The Orlando, Fla., native scored a career-high 28 points and had 16 rebounds, resulting in the team’s only double-double. Mooney is no stranger to putting up crazy numbers; last year he led the ACC in rebounds, with 11.2 per game, and averaged 14.1 points per game, good for 18th in the ACC.
“He is unbelievable. We are riding him so hard. He is fabulous. He is just the man,” Brey said. “You think about him tomorrow and he is going to want to shoot extra, and I’ve got to lock the gym up so that he doesn’t shoot extra, because he needs rest. The physical display of doing that over 34 minutes is really amazing.”
During the game, Marshall pressed hard and forced the Irish to make changes on the fly. Brey described the changes made mid-game and the difficulties that the team had with adjusting.
“We didn’t get much off of our bench, apart from [sophomore guard] Dane [Goodwin]. [Sophomore guard Robby] Carmody got dinged early, so we just have to get him healthy for Monday,” Brey said. “And then we played small, we downshifted, because they were hard to deal with. We need more energy off of that bench, and I’ve got to be confident enough to use them. I wasn’t as confident to use them in the second half, especially Robby because he just had that look, because he got dinged. I think he’ll be fine. I don’t think that it’s a concussion or anything.”
While this game might have reminded fans of last year’s matchup against Radford, where the Irish lost 63-60 in the third game of the season, Brey noted a few differences, particularly in the team’s defense.
“I am looking as it’s coming and I’m having a little bit of the flashbacks,” he said. “Will we be mentally tough enough to figure out how to get over the hump? I thought our defensive stuff, we had some really key stops and got some loose balls. But I’ll tell you what, old [graduate student guard Rex Pflueger] in there defensively — it’s a whole different ball game with him back in there defensively at the end of the game, with loose balls and stuff like that.”
With only the weekend to rest and regroup before their next game, Brey and his team will have to quickly adjust for their next opponent, as the Irish will play at home against Presbyterian today. However, Brey felt confident about the team’s transition into today’s game.
“I just think that we’re going to have to really be able to rely on that [strong defense]. There are just going to be nights when you’re going to have a hard time scoring, and this group does love to guard,” he said. “They like to guard. They know they can guard. Especially Pflueger, [senior guard T.J.] Gibbs, [sophomore guard Prentiss] Hubb, Mooney and then whoever the fifth is. Those four guys are really good defending together. Prentiss has learned a lot on how to defend as a college guard by playing with T.J. and Rex, because they just shove him into places when he is not in the right place. I think that he has learned to be better there.”
The Irish are hoping to continue to improve their record to 4-1 Monday against Presbyterian. Brey and the team are eager to continue to prove themselves and many of the bench players are expected to contribute come Monday. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Purcell Pavilion.