Notre Dame Loses Lead Late In Loss To NC State

Bryan Driskell

For much of the game it seemed Notre Dame was ready to come away with a second straight ACC road victory, but a late-game cold spell proved costly as the the Irish fell 73-68 to NC State.

It started off well for Notre Dame, who led for all but three minutes in the game, but the Irish could not finish.

After three early lead changes the Irish pulled ahead on a drive to the basket from senior guard TJ Gibbs, which came after an excellent block from senior forward John Mooney. The Irish led the remainder of the half thanks to strong play from Gibbs and sophomore guard Prentiss Hubb.

Every time NC State closed the gap Gibbs, Hubb or Mooney made a play to extend the lead. The final burst of the opening half came after NC State senior guard knocked down a jumper to make it 25-23, but two possessions later Hubb knocked down a triple from the right corner to make it a five-point game.

Later in the half NC State guard Markell Johnson cut the lead to four again but Hubb went right back at Johnson, taking him to the rim and pushing the lead back up. Hubb extended the lead to nine with his third triple of the first half, but NC State clawed back, and a driving layup from Braxton Beverly made it a 39-34 game at the half.

Notre Dame went after NC State in the second half, attacking the basket and jumping out to a 51-39 lead. The first seven shots Notre Dame made in the second half were at the rim.

NC State adjusted and took away the lane and the Irish offense began to sputter. A Hubb layup put the Irish up 60-53, but following that basket the Irish went cold from the floor.

The Wolfpack outscored Notre Dame 20-8 in the final 7:44 of the game as the Irish missed an opportunity to earn a huge road victory. Notre Dame led 57 minutes of the game, but the inability to protect the basketball and make shots down the stretch proved costly.

Hubb led the Irish with a career-high 24 points, and both Mooney and Gibbs scored 14 points each, but Mooney fouled out with the game tied 66-66, and the Wolfpack outscored the Irish 7-2 after he left the game.

Notre Dame falls to 10-5 on the season and is now 1-3 in conference play. Notre Dame returns home for a Saturday matchup against #13 Louisville (12-3).