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Notre Dame Men’s Basketball: Fighting Irish Blow Double-Digit Lead, Fall to Texas A&M 73 to 67

More of the same from the Irish, building a nice lead only to absolutely collapse down the stretch

NCAA Basketball: High Point at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball team fell to the Texas A&M Aggies 73 to 67 in the 5th-place game of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning, collapsing in the second half after having built a double-digit lead.

The Irish were led by Dane Goodwin on the day, as he scored 18 points and grabbed 8 rebounds on the day. Paul Atkinson Jr. (11 points, 5 rebounds), Blake Wesley (10 points), and Nate Laszewski (7 points, 6 rebounds) chipped in as well. Prentiss Hubb also scored 11 points, but had a particularly rough performance overall, turning the ball over 8 times and shooting just 2-of-7 from the floor.

The Irish shot 39.6% from the field and 23% from long range, including almost the entire final 9 minutes where they failed to make a field goal (until a Blake Wesley dunk just before the end of the game, in garbage time). ND also missed 7 free throws and turned the ball over 18 total times to Texas A&M’s 12.

The Aggies, meanwhile, were paced in scoring by Quenton Jackson, who scored 18 points while grabbing 4 rebounds and dishing out 4 assists. Hassan Diarra (17 points, 3 rebounds) and Wade Taylor IV (14 points, 4 assists) also had nice games. A&M shot 49% from the field and 45.5% from deep.

The game started with a lot of pace and a lot of charges taken, as both teams struggled to consistently score points and people were flying all over the place in the process. After the first 12 minutes or so, the Irish led 15-13 and the two teams were shooting a combined 10-for-29 from the field.

An 8-0 run from the Irish a bit later helped ND build a small lead, which they maintained into halftime with a score of 32-22. Dane Goodwin’s 11 points and 5 rebounds in the half were the driving force for the Irish.

In the second half, the Irish extended their lead a bit to as many as 14 points, but then after A&M head coach Buzz Williams got himself a technical complaining to the refs, the Aggies slowly began chipping away as the referees began to call fouls on the Irish for just about anything they did defensively.

The Aggies used a 22-9 run to seize control of the game, and the Irish went essentially the final 9 minutes without a made field goal, killing themselves with turnovers and clearly showing they had nothing left in the tank. That was all that was needed for the Aggies to cruise to a 6-point victory, as the Irish only stayed even remotely in the game via occasional free throws down the stretch.

Notre Dame falls to 3-2 on the season with the loss, and plays next on Monday evening at #14 Illinois. Hopefully by then they’ve gotten some rest and can put together a better showing, but there certainly wasn’t much to be encouraged by with this 6th-place finish in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational.