Tonight the Wake Forest Demon Deacons made their way to the Purcell Pavilion to face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. This was the 10th meeting for the Irish and the Demon Deacons, with the Irish leading the all-time series (going into the game) 5-4, and leading the ACC regular season series 5-2. Tonight’s game was the first of a three-game home stand for the Irish, who will face Georgia Tech on Saturday, February 1st (at noon EST), and Pittsburgh on Wednesday, February 5th (at 6:30pm EST).
How did the Irish perform tonight? Lets take a look. Wake Forest came out to a quick start, already up 9-2 at 16:35. Juwan Durham got the first bucket for the Irish, and then Prentiss Hubb missed three shots early on, but the Irish are not a team to give up and at 15:50 Nate Laszewski made the dunk to bring the score to 9-4 (Wake Forest). Durham made his second jumper at 15:10 to get the Irish within three (9-6), but the Deacon Demons don’t take their foot off the gas and quickly went up 12-6. Seton Hall’s Olivier Sarr already with seven points on the board.
Notre Dame finally got the three point shots going at 13:11 with a three by Laszewski, followed by a three by Rex Pfluerger. And once the threes started falling, Notre Dame’s momentum heated up. After a two-point jumper and a free throw shot by Dane Goodwin, the Irish were only down by two, 19-17 (12:03)
John Mooney final got some points on the board at 9:34 and the Irish were again within two points, 21-19. Wake Forest responded with a few quick shots and the Demon Deacons went up by six (27-21), but a jumper by Mooney and a three by Gibbs bring the Irish to within one, 27-26. The two teams swapped goals on two subsequent possessions, and the Irish are still down by one, 31-30 (4:13 remaining).
Even though Olivier Sarr was off to a quick start, he only played for the first six minutes of the half, and has been on the bench ever since.
At 3:35 the Demon Deacons went to the line and sunk two free throws to go up by three, 33-30. This was followed by another Wake Forest jumper, and the Demon Deacons are now up by five. But Goodwin takes it to the other end of the court and makes a jumper of his own, 35-32 Wake Forest.
As the time runs out on the first half, the Irish get within three 37-34 on a two free throw shots sunk by John Mooney. The teams then trade shots again, and the score moves to 39-36 (25.2 left on the clock). The Demon Deacons sank the last bucket of the half and the two teams headed to the locker room with Wake Forest up by five, 41-36.
Lets look at the first half stats. Notre Dame made 12-of-34 two-point shots, 3-of-11 three-point shots, and made 9-of-9 of their shots from the free throw line. Wake Forest made 16-of-30 two-point shots, 3-of-6 three-point shots, and made 6-of-7 shots from the free throw line. Both teams had 18 total rebounds.
The second half started with with a missed three by Gibbs, but Mooney made the jumper and closed the gap to three. Wake Forest answered with a jumper, and they go back up by five, 43-38. Somehow the Irish need to go on a run to close this gap and go ahead. Gibbs then made a jump shot from the free throw line, and on the next Wake Forest possession the Irish get the rebound and take the ball down the court for a Mooney bucket, which also drew the foul. Mooney made both free throw shots and the game is tied, 43-43.
On the next possession Hubb tried for the three and missed again. For some reason he’s very cold tonight. Wake Forest got the next two more points on a layup, but the Irish responded with a three at the hands of Pflueger to go up by one point, 46-45. (This was the first Irish lead since they were up 2-0.)
Gibbs then got fouled on a three-point attempt and headed to the line and made all three shots from the foul line, Irish up by four, 49-45. The Irish have been perfect so far from the free throw line 13-of-13. Sarr then got fouled and headed to the line, only sinking one shot from the line. Goodwin then made a three, going up by six 52-46, and the Irish were heating up. Then Laszewski made a layup, and the Irish are up by eight. Seton Hall wasn’t giving up either though, making a three-point shot and a layup, and the Irish snuck in a few shots as well at the hands of Goodwin and Laszewski. Notre Dame up by seven, 58-51. That was the 11th point for Laszewski.
The Irish scoring continued with a jump shot by Gibbs, and the Irish were up by nine, 60-51, with 11:30 remaining in the game. Wake Forest then took a timeout. The three-point shots returned for Notre Dame with both Laszewski and Gibbs hitting threes, Notre Dame up 66-56. (9:42)
Wake Forest got an offensive foul on a drive to the bucket and Notre Dame got the ball back. Notre Dame converted the possession into a score on a layup by John Mooney. (68-56) Wake Forest got fouled and sent Isaiah Mucius to the free throw line who made both shots. 68-58 (8:33) The Demon Deacons turn around and sink a quick bucket, which was answered by a beatiful three-point shot by a wide open Hubb. (His first points of the game.)
The two teams continued to trade points back and forth, and with 6:39 on the clock, the Irish are up by eleven, 73-62. Media timeout.
Wake Forest was not, however, intimidated by the eleven point deficit. Scratching and clawing their way back, with 5:21 left in the game, Wake Forest was only down by six, 74-68 Irish. Gibbs made a huge three, as Wake Forest was trying to make a push back, and the Irish went up by nine, 77-68. But the Demon Deacons weren’t done, Seton Hall made three consecutive shots and the lead was down to three, 77-74 Irish.
Apparently the Irish weren’t done either, and after the timeout Nate Laszweski came out and sank a three to go up by six points. (Laszweski with 18 points today.) Wake Forest went to the line on a Laszewski foul, sinking both shots, but Notre Dame responded with a Gibbs layup and a trip to the foul line where he made one. 83-76 Irish up. (1:55)
As the game clock ticked down, the Irish did their best to stretch out their possessions and manage the clock. Hubb missed a layup, and Wake Forest quickly takes the ball down court and Brandon Childress made the layup, 83-78 Irish (1:04). Pflueger inbounded the ball to Hubb, who was immediately fouled by Wake Forest. Hubb headed to the line and sank both shots, 85-78. John Mooney was then fouled on Notre Dame’s next possession and made both of his free throw shots, 87-78 Irish (0:40)
With 21 seconds remaining, Wake Forest made a layup and the score is 87-80. Mooney is fouled once more, and went to the line where he sank two more. 89-80 Irish. (0:20) Then with nine seconds, Pflueger is fouled and headed to the line were he sank one of his two shots, 90-80 Irish, and that would be the final score.
The final game stats are as follows: Notre Dame made 29-of-66 two-point shots, 10-of-26 three-point shots, and 22-of-25 shots from the foul line. Wake Forest made 29-of-60 two-point shots, 5-of-14 three-point shots, and 17-of-21 shots from the foul line.
Cheers & GO IRISH!