TJ Gibbs Knocks Down Last Second Shot To Beat Boston College
For much of the game it seemed Notre Dame’s faint tournament hopes were set to go up in smoke, but senior guard TJ Gibbs knocked made one of the biggest shots of his career as the Irish pulled off a 62-61 comeback victory over Boston College (13-16 / 7-11).
Notre Dame trailed for 25 straight points during one stretch of the game, but the only score that mattered was the one at the end of the game, and it favored the Irish.
Boston College entered the game last in the ACC in shooting and third-to-last in three-point shooting, but just like in the first matchup, the Eagles came out hot against a Notre Dame defense that had a hard time figuring out what to stop.
Notre Dame didn’t get out on three-point shooters, which left the Eagles free to knock down 6-of-14 shots from behind the arc. Notre Dame also did a poor job protecting the lane and defending the rim, which allowed Boston College to score 16 points in the pain in the opening twenty minutes.
Boston College knocked down 53.3% of its shots in the opening half and dished out 10 assists on 16 made baskets. The Irish caught several breaks, as Eagle shooters missed several open looks in the opening half.
The game would not have been close at halftime if not for the Herculean effort of John Mooney. The senior forward scored 17 points in the opening half, making 7-of-8 shots.
Beyond Mooney, Notre Dame struggled on the offensive end in the first half, making just 41.9% of its shots while making just 3-of-13 attempts from deep. Mooney was hot, but the rest of the offense combined to go just 6-of-23 from the floor.
Five steals led to seven fast break points and a half court shot from Rex Pflueger at the end of the half, which helped keep the Irish in the game.
The second half didn’t start much better, as Notre Dame continued to struggle to knock down shots all game long. Boston College got cold in the second half, due in part to its poor shooting ability and partly due to Notre Dame extending its zone defense and contesting more shots.
Notre Dame slowly clawed back into the game, but it seemed like Boston College was going to answer every Irish attempt at taking the lead. The Irish closed the gap to one possession on multiple occasions, but each time the Eagles extended the lead.
It wasn’t until sophomore guard Prentiss Hubb knocked down a triple from the right wing to make it 59-58 that Notre Dame finally retook the lead, something it hadn’t done since the 10:41 mark of the first half.
Derryck Thornton knocked down a jumper in the paint to give the Eagles the lead back, but senior guard TJ Gibbs attacked the lane and put the Irish back up with 1:16 left in the game. Freshman guard Jay Heath answered and hit a runner to put the Eagles up 61-60 with just eight seconds left in the game.
Notre Dame had a timeout remaining, but Mike Brey didn’t use it, allowing Hubb to get the ball and immediately push the ball up court, which prevented Boston College from setting its defense. Hubb found Gibbs for a short turnaround shot, and Gibbs knocked it down with less than a second remaining for the win.
It was an ugly offensive night for Notre Dame and the Irish trailed for much of the game, but when the game was on the line Gibbs, who struggled all night, made the shot that counted.
Mooney finished the game with 22 points (9-14 from the floor) and 12 rebounds. Hubb and Gibbs combined for just 19 points on 8-26 shooting, but they made clutch shots down the stretch. Sophomore forward Nate Laszewski scored 10 points off the bench.
Notre Dame made just 7-of-27 from three-point range in the game, but the final three from Hubb was a big shot for the Irish.
Boston College went just 8-29 from the floor in the second half and committed seven turnovers.
Notre Dame will look to pick up a second straight road win when it travels to Wake Forest for a Saturday matchup against the Deacons. Wake Forest is just 12-15 on the season, but the last time the Deacons took the court it beat Duke 113-101 in overtime.