The Irish, who were winless in conference play just over a week ago, are now 5-8 on the season and 2-5 in the ACC after beating the Boston College Eagles last weekend and then having a week off due to their Martin Luther King Jr. Day game at Howard being cancelled.
The Irish started the game with a very odd group, as Mike Brey chose to start the “Blue Team,” or essentially the 2nd team, for the first four minutes of play.
After a highly competitive practice on Friday, the 'blue' team earned the start tonight at Miami.— @NDmbb Athletic Comms (@NDmbbSID) January 24, 2021
First career starts for Zona, Miami native @TonySandersjr_, and Elijah Morgan - they are joined by Cormac Ryan and Nikola Djogo.
Game tips in about 15 minutes on @accnetwork pic.twitter.com/K36nD8nxTp
That group started the game 0-for-6 from the field and gave up a 6-0 Miami lead before Nikola Djogo finally hit a three to stop the bleeding.
The starters came in soon after, and from there the Irish grabbed the reins, pulling even with the Hurricanes and then slowly and surely building a double-digit lead late in the first half and early in the second.
Miami briefly threatened that lead late in the game with some full-court press defense, but the Irish ultimately never relented enough to really make things scary, keeping the Hurricanes at arm’s length and closing out a double-digit win where they held the opponent under 60 points.
ND was led on the evening by Prentiss Hubb, who scored 19 points while shooting 7-of-12 from the field, including a very efficient 5-of-7 from deep. He also dished out 9 assists, looking much more like a natural point guard than he has at other times this season.
Juwan Durham (16 points, 5 rebounds) and Nate Laszewski (16 points, 10 rebounds) also had very strong games, providing a combined 13-of-20 shooting from the field as the Irish as a team overcame the “Blue Team’s” early shooting woes to finish the game having shot 54% from the field, and a blistering 56% (10-of-18) from three-point range. The Irish also managed to out-rebound the Hurricanes 37 to 28, which is always a nice sign considering how poorly ND has rebounded this season.
For Miami, the leading scorer was Kameron McGusty, who scored 20 points on the evening while also grabbing 3 rebounds and accumulating 3 assists. Isaiah Wong (16 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists) and Elijah Olaniyi (10 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals) also had solid contributions on the day.
The Hurricanes shot 39% from the field and an abysmal 14% (3-of-22) from deep, never really finding a way to beat the zone defense that Notre Dame used for much of the game. Miami DID manage to win the turnover battle and force the Irish to commit an uncharacteristic 16 turnovers on the day, but it wasn’t enough to overcome their current depth issues.