The Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball team (15-10, 6-8) returned home to the Purcell Pavilion tonight to face the North Carolina Tar Heels (10-15, 3-11) on ESPN’s Big Money (7 p.m. ET). The Fighting Irish and Tar Heels met tonight for for the second time this season after a 76-65 UNC victory in Chapel Hill on the first night of ACC play this season back on November 6, 2019. Prentiss Hubb led the Irish in that contest with 22 points and five three-point field goals. How did the Irish do tonight? Let’s take a look!
The Tar Heels got on the boards quickly, getting the tip off and making their first shot, but John Mooney responded quickly sinking his first basket. Mooney then got the rebound on the next Tar Heel possession, and that transitioned into a Juwan Durham jumper. 4-2 Irish. The two teams traded buckets pretty evenly and with 16:00 minutes left in the first half the Tar Heels were up by one, 9-8. The Tar Heels, on the third try of their next possession, finally sunk a bucket, and going into the 15:06 media timeout, the Tar Heels were up by three, 11-8.
Nate Laszewski threw up a beautiful shot but the three wouldn’t drop. In the subsequent possession Laszewski drew the foul and made both shots from the line. (13-10 Tar Heels) And finally the Irish hit a three at 13:46 at the hands of Prentiss Hubb, and the game was tied at 13-13. TJ Gibbs then got on the board with a three, and the Irish were up by one, 16-15. (The Irish on a 8-2 run to take the lead.)
After the media timeout, Juwan Durham was fouled and made both of his shots from the line. (18-15, Irish) On the Tar Heel’s next possession, Dane Goodwin got the rebound, and at the other end Juwan Durham converted the possession into points on a jump shot. The next bucket came at the hands of Nate Laszewski, and the Irish were on an 8-0 run. And on the next Tar Heel possession, Christian Keeling broke UNC’s scoring drought on a three-point shot. Headed into the 7:50 timeout, the Irish were up 22-18.
Following the timeout, John Mooney made a jumper, and on the next UNC possession, Garrison Brooks made a jumper of his own. Rex Pflueger responded with a three-point shot and the Irish were up by seven, 27-20. Dane Goodwin made a jump shot, and the Irish extended their lead to nine. John Mooney snuck in a bucket under the basket, and the Irish add two more to their score, quickly followed by another Mooney bucket. Irish up 33-24. The Tar Heels answered with a Brandon Robinson three-point shot, 33-27 Irish. (2:13)
In the last two minutes, Cole Anthony made a jumper to get UNC within four (33-29) Laszewski fouled Garrison Brooks, who missed both shots from the line, and Notre Dame took a 30 second timeout. Goodwin made a beautiful three-point shot, followed by a Mooney rebound on the next UNC possession. Hubb took a three-point shot and missed, and UNC headed down court and Garrison made his jumper. With one second on the clock Rex Pflueger fouled Keeling, who made both of his shots from the line, and we head into the locker room with the Irish up by three points, 36-33.
Here are the stats from the first half. Notre Dame made 14-of-35 two-point shots, 4-of-16 three-point shots, and made 4-of-4 shots from the foul line. UNC made 13-of-37 two-point shots, 3-of-10 three-point shots, and made 4-of-6 shots from the foul line.
John Mooney tipped the ball in to start the second half, followed by a UNC turnover, but the Irish can’t convert the turnover into points. UNC’s Armando Bacot made a layup on the next Tar Heel possession, and the Irish were still up by three, 38-35. Mooney got another rebound (his eighth) and Laszewski missed his shot from the corner. UNC’s Anthony Cole made his first three-point shot of the night and we have a tie game. 38-38. Garrison Brooks made a jumper and the Tar Heels are up, 40-38. Mooney tried for the three-point shot and missed, and UNC got the rebound and Brooks sunk another jumper. 30 second timeout called by Notre Dame at 15:42, and the Tar Heels were up 42-38.
Following the timeout Goodwin turned over the ball and the Tar Heels extended their scoring run with another bucket, 44-38 Tar Heels. Hubb then missed another three-point shot, and after the UNC rebound Anthony made a jumper, but the Irish quickly responded with a three-point shot by Goodwin. (46-41 UNC.) Mooney fouled Leaky Black, who made both of his free throw shots, followed by a fast break dunk by Black, and the Tar Heels were up by nine points, 50-41.
Juwan Durham then got fouled, and missed both of his shots from the line. Brooks scored an easy two, and the Irish seemed to be falling apart. Finally the Irish drop a three-point shot at the hands of Hubb, and were down by eight, 52-44. On the next Tar Heel possession Anthony made a three-point shot, and Durham quickly responded with a bucket and a foul, but missed from the free throw line. Driving to the bucket, Leaky Black got fouled and headed to the line, sinking both of his shots.
Mooney tried for the three and missed, and Goodwin got the rebound and the foul. Goodwin missed a three and on the next UNC possession they turnover the ball. Hubb shot a three that yet again refused to drop, and midway through the second half Notre Dame is down by 11, 57-46. (Notre Dame shooting 33% so far in this half.) UNC kept scoring with a three-point shot by Brandon Robinson. Gibbs missed a three, and the buckets just weren’t falling for the Irish. At the ten minute mark, 60-46 UNC.
Hubb was fouled and headed to the line where he made his bucket. Brooks sunk a layup on the next UNC possession, followed by a layup by Hubb. The two teams continued to make even buckets, but the Irish can’t seem to close the point gap. Hubb headed to the line and made his shot, and the Irish are down by 12. (64-52, with 7:54 remaining)
Hubb made a beautiful shot at 7:45, but the Irish still have a long way to go (66-54). UNC doesn’t score on the next possession, and Gibbs scored a three-point shot on the next Irish possession. Laszewski got the rebound and Hubb made a layup, and the Irish were on a 10-2 scoring run. Pflueger stole the ball and Hubb was fouled and headed to the line, making both shots and we’ve got a five point game.
At 5:55, the score was 68-61, and the Irish made a fast break and Gibb sunk a three. But UNC made a fast break themselves and Keeling made his jumper. (70-64) Keeling was then called for his fourth foul, and Laszewski headed to the line and missed his shot. Robinson sunk a huge three and the lead was back up to nine with just over four minutes to go.
Gibbs shot a three which spun around the rim and sunk, and the score was 73-67. Gibbs got the rebound on the next UNC possession, and shot a three which spun around but wouldn’t sink. Laszewski then shot a wide open three and the UNC lead is down to three. (2:56 remaining.) Brooks missed his layup and ND got the rebound. Pflueger shot a three and missed and UNC called a 30 second timeout. (73-70 UNC)
Another Pflueger interception, and then Laszewski drove down the lane, drew the foul, and headed to the line. Laszewski made the first shot, but the second one spun around and came out. UNC’s Anthony made his three-point shot, and on the next Irish possession Mooney was fouled and headed to the line, (1:26 on the clock) making one out of two shots. (76-72)
UNC turned over the ball and the Irish got two points on a Gibb finger roll. (76-74, 46.6 seconds on the clock.) UNC ball, they shot an air ball and the rebound went to Notre Dame (18 seconds on the clock). Mooney missed his shot in the paint, but Notre Dame got the rebound and Laszewski took the three-point shot and sunk it, Notre Dame up by one, 77-76. (2.4 seconds on the clock.) UNC in-bounded the ball, made a shot from half court and missed. Notre Dame wins, in a classic comeback finish, coming from 15 points down, to win 77-76.
Here are the end-of-game stats. Notre Dame made 28-of-63 two-point shots, 11-of-34 three-point shots, and made 10-of-17 shots from the foul line. UNC made 28-of-66 two-point shots, 8-of-20 three-point shots, and made 12-of-14 shots from the foul line.
Next up for the Irish, the Miami-Florida Hurricanes head to Notre Dame for a 6PM game on Sunday, February 23, 2020.