The Notre Dame Fighting Irish took on the North Carolina State Wolfpack Wednesday night at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. Rex Pflueger sat out tonight with a bone bruise in his left knee. Dane Goodwin slid into the starting lineup to take his place for the evening.
Jericole Hellems scored the first 5 points for the Wolfpack as they took a 5-4 lead three minutes into the game. However, Dane Goodwin and Prentiss Hubb hit three pointers on back to back possessions and T.J. Gibbs scored on a run out layup to give the Irish a 12-10 lead at the under-16 timeout. The Irish held a 22-17 lead at the under-12 timeout. The Irish offense appeared focused on getting Juwan Durham paint touches throughout the early portion of the first half, though he only had 3 points to show for it at the halfway mark of the first half. The Irish used a 2-3 zone for most of the first half, producing middling results. The Wolfpack were able to hit shots outside and repeatedly penetrated into the paint and dumped off the ball for easy buckets. The Irish offense did not falter and allowed the Fighting Irish to hold a 28-23 lead with 8 minutes remaining in the first half. Hubb continued his outstanding play by scoring on a transition layup and hit a three point shot to extend the Irish lead to 35-26 with just under 5 minutes left in the half. The Irish entered halftime with a 39-34 lead. Although the Irish offense proved effective in the opening 20 minutes, they were uncharacteristically sloppy with the basketball, committing 7 turnovers in the half.
Prentiss Hubb played extremely confident in the first half and paced the Irish in the first half with 14 points, hitting 4-5 three point shots. John Mooney nearly recorded a double-double in the first half with 6 points and 9 rebounds. T.J. Gibbs added another 10 points. Markell Johnson scored 13 points for the N.C. State but left the game late in the first half, due to a back injury though he did return in the second half. The Irish shot 53.8% from the field and went 5-7 from beyond the arc in the game’s opening 20 minutes.
The Irish opened the 2nd half by focusing on points in the paint. Mooney scored on a quick layup and Hubb continued his exceptional play with two layups to extend the lead to 45-34 with 18:23 in the half. North Carolina State took a quick timeout to try and stop the bleeding. After missing their first three shots after the timeout, the Wolfpack used a mini 5-0 run to draw within 6 points. The Irish answered right back with three baskets as they led 51-39 with 15:03 in the game. North Carolina State continued to hang around throughout the 2nd half, as the Irish maintained a seven to ten point lead the opening 10 minutes of the half. With 9:29 remaining, a layup by D.J. Funderburk closed the Irish lead to 5 points and Mike Brey used a timeout to settle his troops. Hubb tied his career high of 22 points on a layup that was assisted by a tip ahead by T.J. Gibbs during a scrum for a loose ball as the Irish led 60-53 with 7:24 left in the game.
That was the only basket for the Irish as N.C. State used a 11-2 run over 5:04 to even the game up at 60 with 5:24 remaining. During the ensuing possession, Juwan Durham committed a turnover as he could not handle a lob pass from Hubb at the top of the key and Dane Goodwin turned the ball over on the very next possession, yet the Wolfpack could not take advantage. Mooney threw in a shot from the right block with 4:05 remaining to give the Irish a 62-60 lead. The teams traded baskets after two free throws from North Carolina State. The Irish continued to feed Mooney as he scored on the next two possessions to give the Irish a 66-64 lead with 3:21 left in the game. However, Markell Johnson matched Mooney with a short jumper to tie the game at 66 with just under 3 minutes to go. Mooney missed the front end of a 1 and 1 with a chance to put the Irish ahead with under two minutes to go. He then committed his fifth foul with 1:38 left in the game. D.J. Funderburk took advantage and hit both free throws to give the Wolfpack a 68-66 lead. Markell Johnson pushed the lead to four with a layup. Hubb hit two free throws to pull the Irish within 2 with 47 seconds left. The Irish would not hit another shot as they fell 73-68.
Hubb led the Irish with a career high 24 points. Mooney recorded his 9th straight double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds. The Irish shot 50% from the field. In the 2nd half Notre Dame went 1-10 from three point range. For N.C. State, Markell Johnson led the team with 27 points and 7 assists.
Notre Dame returns to action on Saturday against #13 Louisville at Purcell Pavilion. Tipoff is scheduled for 1pm (CST).