The Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball team fell to 1-2 on the season this evening, losing 83 to 59 to the Auburn Tigers in the first round of the Legends Classic at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The Irish were led on the evening by J.R. Konieczny, who put up his first career double-double by scoring 18 points and grabbing 11 rebounds off the bench. Tae Davis (13 points, 6 rebounds) and Markus Burton (12 points, 3 rebounds) chipped in with solid games for ND as well, and Braeden Shrewsberry also added 10 points.
As a team, Notre Dame shot very poorly, going 34% from the field and an incredibly cold 8% from long range (2-for-26). They managed to match Auburn in both rebounds and turnovers, but the discrepancy in shooting was too much to overcome.
Bruce Pearl’s squad was paced in scoring by Aden Holloway (15 points, 5 assists) and Johni Broome (15 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists), while Jaylin Williams added 11 points and 7 boards and Chris Moore and Tre Donaldson scored 10 points apiece. As a team, the Tigers shot a blistering 53% from the floor and 45% from three-point range.
Auburn got off to a hot start as the Irish struggled to both get stops and to put the ball in the basket themselves, with the Tigers hitting 6 of their first 9 shots, including 8 points before the first media timeout for Broome. The Tigers continued their hot shooting for the majority of the half, just looking bigger, faster, longer, and more aggressive than ND as they built a double-digit lead. Pearl’s team led 34-21 at the under-4 media timeout.
From there, though, the Irish began to show some fight and started hitting some shots, including a couple big threes from Shrewsberry. They went on a 12-5 run to end the half, with Burton’s midrange jumper just before the buzzer making it only a 6-point halftime deficit after they trailed by as much as 15 points.
In the second half, it was all Tigers. Forcing the Irish to take a timeout to try to settle things just 3 minutes in, Auburn began the half on a 15-1 run fueled by Aden Holloway hitting a couple shots from deep (including a 4-point play). The Irish tried to chip away at the suddenly huge lead for Auburn, with some nice plays from Burton, Konieczny, and Davis pulling Notre Dame within 16.
Unfortunately, the Irish just couldn’t get enough stops or hit enough shots to get any closer, and Auburn just kept getting open dunks and layups and hitting open threes, building an insurmountable lead. The Tigers were able to coast the rest of the way to a 24-point victory despite the young Irish continuing to battle until the end.
With the loss, the Irish will now play Oklahoma State tomorrow afternoon, as the Cowboys lost their first round game this evening against St. Bonaventure by a final score of 66 to 64. That consolation game is scheduled to tip off at 4:30 PM ET. The Irish will then play next at home, hosting the Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks next Wednesday evening at 7:00 PM ET the night before Thanksgiving.