The Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball team fell down by as much as 14 points on the road at the UCLA Bruins this evening, came back and established a lead down the stretch, but ultimately fell to 6-3 on the year after a Kris Wilkes final-second 3 fell through with 0.9 seconds remaining.
The Irish were led by Rex Pflueger and DJ Harvey in this one, as Pflueger scored 14 and had 6 rebounds and 4 assists in what was easily his best showing of the season. Harvey added 13 points and 6 rebounds, and the Irish also saw nice contributions from John Mooney (12 points, 11 rebounds).
For UCLA, they were led by star sophomore Kris Wilkes, who scored 14 on the evening and had 8 rebounds, but missed a lot of time down the stretch due to cramps (he even immediately cramped up after hitting the game-winner). Prince Ali (12 points) and Jaylen Hands (12 points, 11 assists) also chipped in as the Bruins improved to 7-2 on the year.
The game was characterized by multiple double-digit-point runs by UCLA while the Irish scored little to nothing during those times, allowing the Bruins to build an 11-point lead at the half and extend it to as much as 14 in the second half. However, the Irish somehow hung around, keeping it relatively close early in the second half before finally going on the run that gave them the lead late in the game.
However, after fouling UCLA on a three to give them three free throws that tied it, the Irish went back into its shell on offense, failing to score another point before Wilkes’ unreal three that gave the Bruins a 65-62 victory.
The Irish play next against the Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday, 12/15 in Indianapolis in the Crossroads Classic.