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Men’s Basketball

Irish get blown out by third-ranked Maryland

| Thursday, December 5, 2019

A six-game win streak came to an abrupt halt last night in College Park as the men’s basketball team fell to the unbeaten No. 3 Maryland Terrapins 51-72. The Irish (6-2, 0-1 ACC)consistently struggled on the offensive side of the ball, and while they were able to hold the Maryland offense at first, the Terps (9-0) found their groove in the second half to bury the Irish in dominant fashion.

Nola Wallace | The Observer
Irish senior forward John Mooney boxes out an opponent during Notre Dame’s 64-62 double overtime win over Toledo at Purcell Pavilion on Nov. 21.

The Irish started 4-of-14 from the floor, but the defense kept them in the game by holding Maryland to 4-of-19 from the floor and 0-for-10 from the 3-point line over the first 10-and-a-half minutes of the game. The first half saw the Irish struggle mightily on offense, as they had a difficult time finding an open look and often had to take contested shots well too late into the shot clock.

Both teams failed to score on their first two possessions, but Maryland began the scoring with a layup in transition. On the following possession, senior forward John Mooney answered by knocking down two free throws from the line. Notre Dame grabbed a two-point lead after Mooney assisted fellow senior forward Juwan Durham underneath for an easy dunk. On the following possession, Mooney knocked down a 3-point jumper to give the Irish a 7-2 lead. Following a made basket from Maryland, Durham made a contested shot in the paint to give the Irish a 9-4 lead at the under-16 timeout.

The Irish offense was unable to find the bottom of the net for the next four minutes, but the Terps struggled as well and were only able to cut the lead to 9-8 at the second media timeout. Sophomore guard Robby Carmody finally ended the drought for the Irish by making a contested reverse layup. Maryland tied the game up at 11 before Carmody would answer again by making another contested layup to give the Irish a 13-11 lead at the under-eight timeout. The Maryland offense would fire on all cylinders from that point on and not give the Irish the lead for the rest of the game.

Maryland grabbed the lead back with just less than six minutes to go in the half at 14-13 following more lackluster possessions from the Irish offense. With four to go in the half, Maryland had extended their lead to 18-13 — their largest lead of the game thus far. Following a missed shot by Mooney, Maryland knocked down a 3-pointer to extend their lead to eight and complete a 10-0 run on the Irish. 

The Irish finally made a basket to cut the lead to six, but Maryland responded on the following two possessions to grab a 25-15 lead. Sophomore guard Prentiss Hubb made an easy basket on the next possession, but Maryland hit yet another 3-pointer to take an 11-point lead. Maryland continued to keep their momentum by making a contested dunk in transition to grab a large 30-17 lead. The Irish responded, cutting the lead to 30-20, but the Terrapins ended the half in a big way. Aaron Wiggins missed a 3-pointer but took advantage of a poor box out from the Irish to gather his own rebound and make an emphatic dunk to give Maryland a comfortable 32-20 lead heading into the lockerroom.

At the half the Irish were shooting a disappointing 28.6% from the floor and a mere 1-of-11 from beyond the arc. They also recorded an uncharacteristic seven turnovers.

Coming out of the half, the Irish made an early basket, but Maryland answered on the ensuing possession to regain their 13-point lead. Following a missed layup from Carmody, Wiggins knocked down another 3-pointer for Maryland to extend the lead to 16. It only would get worse for the Irish from that point on as Maryland made an easy layup in transition to take a commanding 40-22 lead.

Out of a Notre Dame timeout, Mooney finally knocked down just the second three of the night for the Irish with 17 minutes to go in the first half. Following a stop, Dane Goodwin made a and layup and was fouled in the process, hitting his shot at the line to give the Irish some life, cutting the Maryland lead to 12. 

After a made layup for the Terps, Goodwin knocked down the teams third 3-pointer of the game to bring the lead back down to 11, but from that point on it was all Maryland. Maryland kept the pressure on the Irish and opened the lead back up to 16 in a matter of a minutes. At the under-12 timeout the Terps lead was a comfortable 17 points. 

Mooney continued to fight for the Irish out of the timeout by knocking down two free throws and making a 3-pointer. The Terps continued to answer as well, though, and Maryland opened up a 21-point lead at 59-38 with just over eight minutes to play.

The game was clearly over from that point on, and defeat was inevitable for the Irish. When all was said and done, Maryland won the game by 21 points to the tune of 72-51.

Mooney led the way for the Irish by posting a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Hubb also was in the double digits for the Irish with 13 points. The Irish shot 29% from the floor on the night and were seven-for-25 from beyond the arc. Senior guard T.J. Gibbs, who is typically one of the main contributors for the Irish, finished the night with zero points, going 0-of-11 from the field. The Irish also finished with 10 turnovers.

In addition to the loss, the Irish season took another hit as Carmody was helped off the floor with just over a minute remaining in the game with what appeared to be a knee injury. Carmody has had a long history of injuries, so rightly so the Irish staff and team was concerned about his health. Carmody has came off the bench this year and been a key contributor to the team, and he will be needed as the Irish schedule gets tougher.

Next up for the Irish is the ACC home opener against Boston College on Saturday. The game will tip from Purcell Pavilion at 2 p.m. and can be aired on ESPNU.

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