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Notre Dame falls in overtime heartbreaker

| Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Notre Dame (15-9, 6-7 ACC) lost in overtime Tuesday, falling 50-49 on the road to Virginia (16-7, 8-5 ACC). The Irish squandered chances late, having a chance to win in regulation, missing two free throws in overtime and a chance to win at the buzzer.

The Irish were led offensively by sophomore guard Prentiss Hubb and senior forward John Mooney who scored 12 and 11 points respectively, but shot just 5-12 and 4-14 from the field. The Cavaliers lead the nation in scoring defense and opponent field goal percentage. Notre Dame shot just 32.8% from the field and 23.1% from three. Virginia was led by senior forward Mamadi Diakite, who finished with 20 points.

Neither team found a rhythm offensively early in the game, as both teams struggled shooting the ball. The Irish shot just 33% from the field in the half, but held the Cavaliers to 1-12 from beyond the arc. The game went back and forth for most of the first half. A 3-pointer from sophomore guard Dane Goodwin gave Notre Dame a 12-10 lead, followed by Hubb scoring a three two possessions later to push the lead to 15-12. Neither team led by more than three points for the entire first half before a senior guard TJ Gibbs three pointer at the buzzer gave the Irish a 26-22 lead heading into the break.

Ann Curtis | The Observer
Notre Dame sophomore guard Prentiss Hubb looks to drive to the basket against Georgia Tech at Purcell Pavilion on February 1

The second half started much like the first, with both teams continuing to miss shots. A Virginia three opened the scoring to trim the Notre Dame lead to one, but Mooney answered with a basket inside. After scoring just five points in the first half, Mooney made an immediate impact in the second half. 

A bucket from sophomore forward Nate Laszewski in the post gave the Irish a 32-29 lead, and a Hubb floater pushed the lead to five, but Virginia again answered with a 3-pointer. A steal by Hubb led to an acrobatic, fast-break layup from Laszewski. 

A Virginia three tied the game at 38 just under the 10-minute mark, part of a 10-0 Virginia run which was finally ended by another Hubb layup.

A steal from Gibbs and a Mooney tip-in cut the lead to just one with just over four minutes to play. After the teams traded misses, a Gibbs corner three put the Irish back in front with two-and-a-half minutes left in the contest, but a Virginia turnaround jumper tied the game at 47 with 25 seconds left. Virginia had five fouls to give, and intentionally fouled Notre Dame multiple times, giving them only three seconds to attempt a shot to win. Mooney was blocked underneath the basket to send the game to overtime in what appeared to be a controversial no-foul call. 

Two free throws from Virginia opened the scoring in overtime, but Hubb tied the game on a fadeaway jumper. Virginia missed the front end of the one-and-one, and Mooney was fouled on the other end but missed both free throws and was called for a loose ball foul, giving Virginia two more chances at the line. They split the pair, and led by one with two minutes to play. Notre Dame had a chance to win with 18 seconds left, but Rex Pflueger missed a corner three at the horn. 

Notre Dame continues its road trip Saturday, traveling to Durham, North Carolina to take on the seventh-ranked Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke (21-3, 11-2 conference) has been among the hottest teams in college basketball recently. They have won their last six games, and average 82.6 points per game, led by freshman forward Vernon Carey Jr.’s 17.5 points and 8.9 rebounds. A win against a top-10 opponent on the road would be immense for Notre Dame’s NCAA tournament chances, which took a major hit after the loss Tuesday.

Tip off between the Irish and the Blue Devils is 4 p.m. Saturday

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