That Could’ve Gone Better
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish just played their game against Wake Forest in Winston-Salem. Unfortunately, the Irish did not come away with the victory. They dropped this one today to the Demon Deacons 79-74. It was looking like the Irish might take this one in a shootout, but the second half saw a strong surge by Wake Forest while the Irish went a bit cold on their shots down the stretch. It was definitely a battle, though.
In the first half, the Irish were honestly lighting it up on offense. It did not start out that way, though. Paul Atkinson had to take a seat for most of the first half because he picked up two fouls in the first three minutes of the game. Wake Forest already had a size advantage, so that looked like it would cause a big problem for the Irish. Fortunately, the guys were hitting a ton of shots from beyond the arc. The Irish finished the first half hitting 9 threes totaling 47%. Paul Atkinson came into the game at the end of the half only to pick up his third foul almost immediately. He went right back to the bench, so it was good that ND was hitting all those three-pointers. They ended the half up 41-36 after shooting 50% from the field. They also led by 12 points at one point in the half.
This was the tale of two halves, though, as the game was a bit more back-and-forth. It truly was a game of runs in the first half, with the Irish coming away with better/longer runs to take some healthy leads. Wake kicked off the half by hitting three pretty quick 3-pointers. From there, the game was more of a slugfest. The Irish were getting hammered inside the paint in many ways. You could tell there was the problem of being undersized because the Deacs would power through the paint. With Laszewski still not 100% after his injury and Atkinson limited on minutes/being aggressive from his foul trouble, I don’t blame the Deacs for their game plan to take it to the paint.
Additionally, Wake Forest made the Irish look silly in the rebound battle. The final tally was 43-27, and the Deacs had 16 offensive rebounds to the Irish’ 2. Alondes Williams got insanely hot in the second half, scoring 17 of his 23 points in the second half. Jake LaRavia also had 20 points, while Khadim Sy was a menace off the bench and inside the paint, scoring 15 points. After the game ended, we could see that the size, being out-rebounded, and the short bench were too much for the Irish. Unfortunately, this will overshadow the insane game that Blake Wesley yet again had, scoring 24 points and shooting 6-11 from beyond the arc. 5 of the 7 players scored in double digits and 5 also hit at least one three-pointer, but that was not enough.
With the loss, the Irish drop to 19-8 and 12-4 in conference play. Notre Dame now sits in sole possession of second place in the conference. Playing Wake Forest was the last chance the Irish had to play a Quad 1 team this regular season. The Irish next play two straight games at home with the next one being this coming Wednesday against Syracuse. That game is slated to be at 7 PM on ESPNNews. Georgia Tech will be after that in one week from today.