Notre Dame took on the Indiana Hoosiers in the 9th annual Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Fighting Irish entered the contest 1-3 against the Hoosiers in the contest. The Hoosiers entered the match-up at 10-1, albeit against a light schedule.
Indiana opened the game on a 7-0 run over the game’s opening 4 minutes. The Irish finally got on the board with 15:42 in the first half with a John Mooney free throw. After the opening 4 minutes, Mike Brey employed a 2-3 zone in an attempt to force the Hoosiers to shoot it from the outside as Indiana entered the game shooting 56% from inside 3-point range. T.J Gibbs left the game with 13:29 remaining after suffering an apparent ankle injury. Luckily for Mike Brey, he did return to the game in the first half. The Irish offense struggled to gain much traction in the opening 10 minutes, scoring only 10 points. Indiana led 15-10 with 9:30 remaining in the first half. Despite the zone defense, Indiana was able to score 12 of their 15 points in the paint.
The highlight of the first half came on a rim run alley-oop between Rex Pflueger and Juwan Durham. Durham added another basket with 8 minutes remaining, pulling the Irish to within one at 17-16. Indiana went on a 10-0 run over the next 3 minutes run to extend their lead to 27-16. The Irish offense seemed to revert back to the Maryland game as they struggled to get past their defenders and force defensive rotations. The Hoosiers entered halftime with a 34-23 lead. Juwan Durham led the Irish with 7 points and 3 rebounds in the first half, though he also picked up 3 fouls. Armaan Franklin paced the Hoosiers with 9 points. Joey Brunk grabbed 11 rebounds in 20 minutes for Indiana. Notre Dame was out-rebounded 26-16 in the opening half. Indiana shot 46.7% from the field, whereas Notre Dame shot 27.6% from the field. After seemingly getting out of their 3 point shooting slump the past two games, Notre Dame only shot 13.3% from 3 point range in the first half.
The Irish opened the second half by chucking 3 point shots to no avail. The Indiana offense at one point controlled the ball for 58 seconds in a row. The Irish scored their first point of the second half at 16:24 on a Juwan Durham free three. A Dane Goodwin 3 pointer drew the Irish within 14 points at 44-30 with 15 minutes remaining in the game. The Irish used a mini 6-0 run to close within 10 points at the 12 minute mark at 46-36. The Irish continued to hang around in the second half using their defense to make up for their shooting woes.
The Irish went on a 15-2 run seemingly out of nowhere in the second half. With just under 10 minutes remaining, Nate Laszewski hit two free throws to pull the Irish within 8 at 48-40. Dane Godwin continued the Irish run by knocking down a 3 pointer to turn up the heat on the Hoosiers. Rex Pflueger made an outstanding play to grab a loose ball and pass ahead to a streaking Dane Goodwin for a layup as the Irish pulled within 3 at 48-45. Unfortunately, Pflueger slipped on the Crossroads Classic logo on the court and suffered a strained right groin. He did return with 6:12 remaining. The Irish continued to maintain contact with the Hoosiers, as they trailed by 5 with 5:27 remaining. John Mooney hit a 3 pointer from the corner to creep within 2 points. On the ensuing possession, Dane Goodwin knocked down a corner 3 pointer to grab their first lead of the day at 55-54 with 4:59 remaining.
At the under-4 timeout the Irish led 57-54. The Irish extended their lead to 59-54 with 3:42 remaining on two John Mooney free throws. Armaan Franklin hit a 3 pointer to pull Indiana within 2 points at 59-57. Indiana tied up the game at 59 with 1 minute remaining on a Trayce Jackson-Davis dunk. Prentiss Hubb drew a shooting foul with 35 seconds remaining and hit 1 of 2 shots from the line to put the Irish up 60-59. Armaan Franklin then hit a corner 3 pointer with 15 seconds remaining to put the Hoosiers up 62-60. John Mooney missed a cutting Dane Goodwin on a backdoor cut with under 10 seconds to go. Rex Pflueger missed a half court heave as time expired as the Irish ultimately fell just short.
After scoring 0 points in the first half, Dane Goodwin scored 15 points in the second half. John Mooney added 15 points and 9 rebounds. The Hoosiers were led by 17 points from Armaan Franklin. The Irish finished the day shooting 38.2% from the field and 22.2% from 3 point land. The Irish were outrebounded 45-36.
The Irish return to action against Alabama A&M on December 29th at Purcell Pavilion. Tipoff is set for 11am (CST). Go Irish!