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Irish Offense Falters Late in 77-73 Loss To NC State

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Another cold stretch offensively in the second half doomed Notre Dame on Saturday afternoon during a 77-73 loss to No. 17 NC State.

The Irish trailed 62-61 following a bucket from junior forward John Mooney before missing their next five shots over a four-minute stretch to allow the Wolfpack to pull ahead just enough to eventually pull out the tough victory.

Blue & Gold Illustrated recaps the contest half-by-half.

FIRST HALF

After forcing an opening miss for the Wolfpack, Notre Dame took an early lead after Mooney backed down his opponent and kissed it off the glass for an early bucket.

The Wolfpack quickly answered with a jumper from guard CJ Bryce to tie it up, but sophomore wing DJ Harvey found himself open in the corner and drilled a three-pointer.

Notre Dame continued to hold the early lead going into the first media timeout up 9-8 after Mooney hit a mid-range jumper and NC State guard Eric Lockett hit one of his own.

Following a 3-of-4 start from the field to take the early lead, the Irish would make just two of their next 10 attempts to allow the Wolfpack to jump out to a 15-14 advantage with 11:47 remaining in the opening half.

A three-pointer from guard Prentiss Hubb and dunk via Harvey off a nice pass in the lane from guard TJ Gibbs kept the Irish close while Bryce and forward Torin Dorn combined for three-straight buckets for NC State to grab the lead.

The Wolfpack got it up to 19-14 following a pair of free throws from guard Blake Harris and a jumper via forward Jericole Hellems. Notre Dame responded with a pair of nice plays around the bucket.

Mooney grabbed an offensive rebound to keep the possession alive and found Gibbs on the wing for an open three-pointer. Just over a minute later, Harvey drove to the bucket on the baseline and was able to get a reverse layup to fall and was fouled. Harvey would miss the free throw attempt, but his bucket tied the game at 19 with 8:09 left. Dorn put the Wolfpack back up before the under-8 media timeout with a layup.

During that stretch, freshman forward Chris Doherty checked in for the first time this season and quickly grabbed a rebound to get into the stat sheet.

A three-pointer and layup from Bryce sandwiched a bucket via Mooney to give the Wolfpack the 26-21 advantage with 5:32 left in the half.

Junior guard Nik Djogo would score the next four points for the Irish, but was countered by a 4-0 run by NC State between Djogo’s points to make it 30-25 Wolfpack at the under-4 media timeout.

The Wolfpack extended their lead to 33-25 with a bucket from Devon Daniels before the Irish eventually tied the game at 35 apiece with a 10-2 run capped off by a three-pointer from Gibbs with the shot clock winding down and under one minute to play.

NC State quickly regained the lead on the other end with a bucket from Dorn giving the Irish the last shot before the half. Mooney eventually got open on the wing, but he was unable to connect on his three-point attempt giving the Wolfpack a 37-35 lead at the break.

Mooney led the Irish with 10 points and seven rebounds in the opening half while Gibbs and Harvey each had eight points.

Notre Dame connected on 11-of-30 (36.7 percent) from the field and just 4-of-15 (26.7 percent) behind the arc. NC State countered with a 15-of-34 effort (44.1 percent) overall and 2-of-7 (28.6 percent) on three-point attempts. Bryce led all Wolfpack scorers with 12 points.

SECOND HALF

The Irish quickly tied the game back up in the second half at 39 following a nice offensive rebound and layup from guard Dane Goodwin.

But, NC State reeled off a quick 6-0 run getting back-to-back triples from Bryce and guard Braxton Beverly. Mooney cooled the spurt with a free throw then a dunk to follow. The Wolfpack answered with another triple a minute later to take a 48-42 lead into the first media timeout of the half (15:13).

After the break, it turned into the Goodwin show for the Irish. Goodwin would reel off nine points over a stretch of 2:31 to make it 54-53 NC State with 12:24 remaining in the contest.

The height of the run for the freshman game when a block via Doherty led to a bucket for Goodwin in transition off a nice pass from Djogo up the court. Goodwin would follow with a triple and layup on consecutive possessions to cut into the Wolfpack lead. But another three-pointer from Bryce quieted a roaring crowd in Purcell Pavilion with NC State up 57-53 at the under-12 media timeout (11:37).

Goodwin hit another triple over a minute later to keep it a one possession deficit (58-56) for the Irish before NC State hit back-to-back jumpers from forward Derek Funderburk and Bryce. Notre Dame quickly responded with a 5-0 run when Hubb hit a step-in three-pointer after the Irish broke the press.

Goodwin continued his strong half on the next possession when he drove to the lane and found an open Mooney on the block for a dunk to make it 62-61 NC State with 8:26 left. That score remained the same going into the under-8 media timeout (7:48). The Mooney bucket put the Irish at 11-of-20 for the half from the field.

NC State again would answer going on a 5-0 run to make it 67-61 with 4:49 left. Goodwin would hit a jumper to stop the run on the next possession, but that would be the last field goal for the Irish over the next four minutes.

Notre Dame would only get one recorded attempt in that span, but were able to get to the free throw line to keep it close. But, NC State kept getting buckets on the other end to make sure the Irish wouldn’t pull off the upset.

After cutting it to 71-67 following a pair of free throws from Mooney, Funderburk got a layup to fall to male it 73-67. Goodwin made just one of his two free throws on the next possession to cut the lead by one.

The contest seemed all but locked up after Daniels hit two of his own free throws on the next possession, but NC State would foul Gibbs on a three-point attempt to send the junior to the line. Gibbs made all three to make it a two-possession contest once again.

NC State wound up missing the front end of a one-and-one, which allowed the Irish to cut the lead down to 75-73 when Gibbs found Mooney for the dunk with just over 12 seconds remaining. But, Daniels would again make two free throws after the Irish fouled to secure a 77-73 win over Notre Dame.

Goodwin and Mooney finished a team-high 19 points to lead the Irish while Mooney also grabbed 16 rebounds. Gibbs added 13 points and Harvey had 10 points to round out the double-digit scorers.

Notre Dame shot 24-of-59 (40.7 percent) from the field and 7-of-28 (25.0 percent) behind the arc in the loss. NC State finished 30-of-69 (43.5 percent) overall and 7-of-19 (36.8 percent) on their three-point attempts. Bryce had 23 points to lead all scorers.

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