Notre Dame Blasts Miami To Earn Second Straight Victory
Notre Dame (17-10 / 8-8) entered its contest against Miami (14-13 / 6-11) facing a must-win situation against a Hurricane team that had won three-straight games. The Fighting Irish answered the challenged and dominated the Hurricanes, winning 87-71.
It took a little while for the offense to get going, but once it did the Irish never looked back.
After missing its first two attempts the Irish made four straight baskets to take an early 10-5 lead. It seemed Notre Dame was poised to take advantage of a Miami defense that ranks last in the ACC in points allowed.
But the offense stalled for the next five minutes, and the Irish missed 11 of its next 12 attempts as the Hurricanes pulled ahead 19-15 with 10:05 left in the opening half.
That is when the Notre Dame offense exploded and ran Miami off the court, quite literally. Notre Dame’s defense slowed down a Miami offense that came into the game averaging 84.8 points per game in its previous four contests. The Hurricanes made just 17 of 43 shots in the first half, including three of 14 from deep, and Notre Dame turned those misses into a lot of transition points.
Sophomore guard Prentiss Hubb knocked down a triple to end the shooting drought, and that was followed up by a short jumper from senior forward Juwan Durham. Senior John Mooney put the Irish back on top 22-21 on a fast break dunk after a Hubb steal and assist.
Miami tried to stay up with the Irish, answering a pair of three-pointers from senior guard TJ Gibbs, but Mooney started a blistering run with a putback of his own miss to put the Irish up 30-25.
Notre Dame finished the half making eight of its final nine shots, including the Mooney putback, and a tightly contested 28-25 game turned into a 48-29 halftime lead for Notre Dame.
Gibbs knocked down all four of his deep attempts, which fueled an offense that made 10-18 three-point attempts in the opening 20 minutes.
Notre Dame answered every Miami shot in the second half, and the Hurricanes never got closer than 14 points to the Irish. The Irish defense continued slowing down the Miami guards and the transition offense continued to fuel Notre Dame.
A 13-2 run that began at the 10:47 mark of the second half blew the game open.
The Irish used a balanced offensive attack to throttle Miami, but it was Gibbs and Mooney that led the way, as the veteran captains led the Irish with 19 points apiece. Mooney had 12 boards in yet another double-double and Gibbs dished out five assists.
Hubb added 15 points and 10 assists, and sophomore Dane Goodwin added 14 points off the bench.
Notre Dame returns to action on Wednesday when it travels to Boston College, who beat the Irish back in December.