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Notre Dame-Wake Forest Preview


Notre Dame hasn't lost back-to-back games in almost two full seasons, but its recent road struggles and the continuation of a three-game stretch away from home would appear to put that run in jeopardy.

The No. 23 Fighting Irish, though, will get to take on a Wake Forest team that will play without its leading scorer and one of the ACC's top rebounders Wednesday night.

Notre Dame (18-8, 9-5) had a three-game win streak snapped Saturday when Georgia Tech's Marcus Georges-Hunt scored with two seconds left in a 63-62 defeat, the Irish's third in four road games.

"We gave ourselves a chance. We've escaped a couple lately but not this one," coach Mike Brey said. "You've got to give Tech credit."

Notre Dame hasn't suffered consecutive defeats since losing its final three games in 2013-14. The Irish will try to keep that streak going against a Wake Forest team they handled 85-62 on Jan. 31.

Zach Auguste led the way with 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Demetrius Jackson provided 14 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and a career-high six steals.

Jackson, who leads the Irish with 16.4 points per game, went 1 of 6 from 3-point range at Georgia Tech and scored 12. He matched a career high with 27 points and was 6 of 12 from beyond the arc in the previous game, a 71-66 victory over then-No. 13 Louisville on Feb. 13.

Steve Vasturia was limited to seven points Saturday after scoring 20 against Louisville.

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Both players will try to bounce back against the ACC's worst defensive team. The Demon Deacons (11-16, 2-13) are allowing 80.6 points per game in conference play.

Those struggles played a large role in an 11-game skid that ended with a 74-48 rout of last-place Boston College on Sunday.

Doral Moore had 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting and added seven rebounds and three blocks in his first start. The freshman center, averaging 3.7 points and 2.4 rebounds, got that opportunity because Devin Thomas was starting a two-game suspension due to a violation of athletic department rules.

Sophomore Cornelius Hudson was kicked off the team for the same reason.

"This was a very good sign for our team," coach Danny Manning said. "We've always had the 'next man up' mentality. We got great contributions from a lot of guys across the board, but Doral came out. This was the best I've ever seen him play."

Thomas is averaging team bests of 15.8 points and 10.2 rebounds. Hudson was averaging 7.8 points but had a career-high 22 in his final game, a 101-96 double-overtime loss at Pittsburgh on Feb. 16.

Thomas was the Deacons' second-leading scorer at Notre Dame last month with 19 points, and freshman guard Bryant Crawford had 20. Thomas averaged 21.3 points while shooting 64.6 percent in four games against Notre Dame.

The Irish have won the past two of those matchups - both as a Top 25 team - after losing the first three in the series while unranked. Notre Dame fell 65-58 in its only other trip to Winston-Salem in January 2014.

The Deacons have dropped 15 of 16 against Top 25 opponents, beating then-No. 13 Indiana 82-78 for that lone win Nov. 23 in Hawaii. They have lost the past seven such matchups at home.