Irish fall to the Illini 82-72, prepare for ACC opener against Eagles this weekend
Mannion McGinley | Friday, December 3, 2021
Monday night, the Irish (3-3) took their third loss of the season this time to the Fighting Illini (5-2). The State Farm Center was almost sold out, with 14,097 of the 15,544 seats filled.
The Irish took the first lead in Urbana-Champagne, 10-9. It came courtesy of two 3-pointers from senior forward Nate Laszewski and a post-turnover score from senior guard Cormac Ryan.
Each team went on their own seven-point run after that — the Illini first, bringing their tally to 16. That run lasted until 11 minutes before the end of the half. Then, Irish senior guard Trey Wertz changed the momentum. The Irish took their turn at a 7-0 run but despite that, the Illini took a 41-34 lead at the half.
During the second half, true freshman guard Blake Wesley took charge. He scored 11 straight for Notre Dame despite Illinois maintaining their lead. Wesley had 24 points on the night, leading the Irish. He was followed by senior guard Dane Goodwin and Laszewski, who had 15 and 13 each.
The Irish cut the Illini lead to five points twice within the last six minutes but it wasn’t enough to pull out the win.
Despite the loss, Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey acknowledged the bright moments and his team needs to work on.
“We had our moments,” Brey said. “I thought we were a little better offensively at times. We’re certainly learning about our group. But we couldn’t really get enough stops to make it more than a two-possession game in the second half.”
Now, to close out the week, the Irish will open ACC competition against the Boston College Eagles.
Notre Dame will be coming off two straight losses and have lost three of the last four when they face Boston College. During the Maui Invitational, the Irish went 1-2, falling to Saint Mary’s College, 59-62. Then, they beat Chaminade 90-64 before ultimately falling to Texas A&M 67-73.
The Eagles, on the other hand, snapped their three-game losing streak after beating Columbia and South Florida in their last two games (73-60, 64-49 respectively) which snapped their three-game losing streak.
Notre Dame leads the all-time series 26-12, and are 11-8 at Boston College. This Friday, the Irish will head into the game attempting to break both their own losing streak and the Eagles’ win-streak, extending their series lead.
The tip will be at 6:00 p.m. at Conte Forum and the game will be on the ACC network.