The Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball team failed to put together a two-game winning streak after their win over Louisville last weekend, losing at home on Saturday afternoon to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons by a final score of 81 to 64.
The Irish were led on the day by Nate Laszewski, who scored 18 points and had 7 rebounds while shooting 7-for-15 from the field. Cormac Ryan had a decent game as well, scoring 12 points and dishing out a couple assists on the day. Marcus Hammond chipped in 10 points and 5 rebounds, and J.J. Starling added 8 points and 3 boards.
As a team, Notre Dame was ice-cold shooting the ball, 38% from the field and 19% from long range (4-for-21) for the game. They managed to win the turnover battle convincingly, 14 to 4, but were out-rebounded by the Demon Deacs 41-33 and due to their poor shooting and Wake’s strong shooting on the day, were largely unable to capitalize on that turnover difference.
The Demon Deacons were paced in scoring by Damari Monsanto (28 points, 7 rebounds, 8-of-13 from three-point range) and Tyree Appleby (16 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists). Cameron Hildreth (8 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists), Matthew Marsh (8 points, 4 rebounds) and Bobi Klintman (10 points, 4 rebounds) contributed to the effort as well, and Wake Forest shot 53% from the floor and a scorching-hot 47% from three-point range, making 14 of their 30 attempts from distance.
The Irish got off to a hot start in this one, using an early 16-2 run to get out to a double-digit lead within the first 8 minutes.
Wake Forest battled back, though, going on a 14-4 run of their own to retake the lead just before halftime, and held a one-point advantage at the half. Monsanto was key in that run with multiple made threes, and he led all scorers at the intermission with 11 points in the half.
Fan-favorite performer Red Panda provided her typical awesome halftime entertainment, but unfortunately her presence didn’t help inspire a better performance from the Irish in the second half.
Monsanto kicked things up a notch after the break, hitting 3 three-pointers in the first couple minutes to help fuel a 17-8 run that pushed the Demon Deacon lead to 10 points at the under-16 media timeout.
Hammond finally hit a three (the Irish’s first all game) to go along with a few Laszewski and Ryan buckets to keep ND within striking distance, but Wake Forest continued to get easy buckets at the rim and hit open threes, giving them a 53-46 lead at the 11:18 mark.
They would extend their lead to 12 before Laszewski started hitting a few shots from deep, keeping the Irish just barely in it. But it wasn’t enough, with Wake once again extending their lead to 65-52 at the under-8 timeout, and then cruising to a 17-point victory down the stretch.
With the loss, the Irish fall to 10-13 on the season (2-10 ACC). They will play next on Wednesday, 2/8 at 7 PM ET, when they will travel to Atlanta to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, who currently sit at the bottom of the conference standings with a 1-11 ACC record and serve as the best possible opportunity for Mike Brey to pick up another victory before he steps down at the end of the season.