The Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball team finally got an ACC win this afternoon, topping the Boston College Eagles 69 to 66 in a down-to-the-wire game where a lot of guys were missing, including ND’s leading scorer T.J. Gibbs (sick), its rim protector Juwan Durham (ankle injury), and BC starter Steffon Mitchell.
With just 6 scholarship players available, the Irish overcame a 24-point, 16-rebound effort from the Eagles’ star player Ky Bowman, thanks to John “John Mutton” Mooney putting up 27 and 12 of his own on the day, picking up his 8th double-double of the season (1st in the ACC).
Nearly as important was how true freshman guard Prentiss Hubb stepped up, scoring a career-high 16 points (along with his 6 rebounds and 5 assists) on a day where he was a surprise starter after T.J. Gibbs got sick during warmups and couldn’t play.
Hubb’s shooting was especially encouraging in this one, as he had gone 4-for-38 from deep in the past 9 games but finished 4-of-8 from three point range today. Most importantly, he knocked down two free throws with just 2 seconds remaining and with the Irish trailing by 1 at the time, giving ND the lead, and ultimately, the win, after the Eagles failed to inbound the ball on the other end.
Other solid contributions were turned in by Dane Goodwin (9 points), D.J. Harvey (9 points), and Nate Laszewski (8 points, career-high 10 rebounds), as all were called upon to do much more with Gibbs and Durham sitting out.
The Irish shot just 34% from the field and 27% from deep on the day, while the Eagles shot 40% and 29% overall and from 3, respectively. Besides Bowman, BC saw solid days from Nik Popovic (15 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks) and Wynston Tabbs (13 points).
ND legend Bob Whitmore was inducted into the Ring of Honor at halftime. The Irish great is largely credited with establishing the Washington DC pipeline to ND that brought guys like Austin Carr and Adrian Dantley to the school back in the day, and that still brings players like Jerian Grant, DJ Harvey, and Prentiss Hubb to the squad today. The Irish improved to 8-0 in games where a player was inducted into the Ring of Honor.
Notre Dame improved to 11-5 on the year overall and 1-2 in ACC play. They will play next on Tuesday night on the road against the #12 North Carolina Tar Heels, who are fresh off an absolute shellacking at home against the Louisville Cardinals today.