Mike Brey led his Notre Dame Fighting Irish into the Xfinity Center on Wednesday night to take on the #3 Maryland Terrapins. The Irish were seeking their first win against a ranked opponent since defeating the #6 Wichita State Shockers in the Maui Invitational Championship in 2017. Brey was also seeking his first win (career 0-8) against #3 ranked teams during his tenure in South Bend.
John Mooney and Juwan Durham helped Notre Dame race out to a 9-4 lead against Maryland at the under 16 minute timeout. The first half turned into a rock fight for the remainder of the half. Although the Irish led for just over 11 minutes in the first half, they missed a chance to capitalize on the poor shooting from the Terrapins as they had two separate scoring droughts of 4 minutes. With 3:58 remaining in the half, Notre Dame had more turnovers (6) than field goals (5). The surprisingly stingy Irish defense (is Clark Lea helping Mike Brey’s staff?) allowed the Fighting Irish to remain in the game for much of the first half as they Irish cycle between a 2-3 zone and man to man defense. The Terrapins trailed 13-11 with 8:09 left in the half when they turned the jets on. Eric Ayala and Aaron Wiggins keyed a 21-7 Maryland run to end the half and allow Maryland to enter the locker room with a 32-20 lead. Mooney and Durham led the Irish with 7 points apiece in the opening 20 minutes of the game. The season long trend of poor shooting continued as the Irish ended the half shooting 28.6% from the field and 1-11 from 3 point range.
Notre Dame continued its listless performance in the 2nd half. In years past, this was the type of game the Irish had a puncher’s chance in due to their ability to create easy offense. However, the Irish have been mired in an offensive slump for nearly a year and a half, often struggling to reach 50 points. Maryland held a double-digit lead for the entirety of the second half. Four Terrapins recorded double-digits, led by Jalen Smith’s 15 points. John Mooney led the Irish with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Rex Pflueger and T.J. Gibbs combined to go 0-13 from the field as neither scored a point. The Irish finished the night shooting 29% from the field and 28% from 3 point range. The Terrapins held a 47-39 edge in rebounds on the night and recorded 10 blocks. Robby Carmody sustained a left knee injury with 50 seconds remaining in the game.
The 6-2 Irish return to action on Saturday, December 7th in Purcell Pavilion against the Boston College Eagles at 1 pm (CT). Go Irish!