Kris Wilkes & UCLA Down Notre Dame In Closing Seconds, 65-62
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Notre Dame (6-3) led by five points with under three minutes to go before UCLA (7-2) finished the contest on an 8-0 run, headlined by a three-pointer from guard Kris Wilkes with .9 seconds remaining, to down the Irish 65-62.
The Irish shot 22.9 percent in the first half, but overcame the shooting woes hitting over 50 percent during the final 20 minutes to eventually regain the lead. However, the Irish missed their final four shots over the final 2:48 after going up 62-57 to allow the Bruins the opportunity to make a late run.
Check out Blue & Gold Illustrated's half-by-half recap of the Notre Dame loss.
Back in his home state of California, Irish guard Rex Pflueger opened the scoring with a three-pointer for a fitting start.
Guard Prentiss Hubb followed just over a minute later with a three-pointer of his own to give the Irish an early 6-0 advantage. Wing DJ Harvey hit on a mid-range jumper to answer a bucker from UCLA big man Moses Brown.
The Bruins then would get back-to-back three-pointers from forward Cody Riley and guard Prince Ali to tie the game at 8-8 with 15:38 left in the opening half.
Guard Kris Wilkes kept the run going for Steve Alford’s group with a three-pointer and a jumper, which was followed by a dunk from forward Jalen Hill to make it 15-8 UCLA with 13:57 left and an overall 13-0 run.
Irish forward Nate Laszewski ended the run with a three-pointer before the teams would each miss their next three shots going into the under-12 media timeout. Notre Dame hit just four of their first 15 shots to that point.
Notre Dame would however go on to hit four of eight in just over three minutes to tie the game 20, which included five points from forward John Mooney. UCLA led 22-20 at the under-8 media timeout (6:12).
Notre Dame continued to struggle not scoring over the next three minutes, but UCLA notched just one field goal to lead 24-20 at the under-4 break. It didn’t get better for the Irish to close out the half as the group did not record a single point pushing their scoreless stretch to 7:40 going into the locker room.
UCLA took advantage during the final three-plus minutes getting two free throws from Riley and a three-pointer from Wilkes to fuel what was an 11-0 run to end the half to give the Bruins a 31-20 advantage at the break.
Notre Dame made just one of its last 15 attempts in the half to finish 8-of-35 (22.9 percent) overall and 3-of-15 (20 percent behind the arc. Mooney and Pflueger each had five points to lead the Irish scorers.
UCLA connected on 12-of-37 attempts in the half, including 4-of-10 behind the arc. The Bruins held a 34-19 advantage on the boards with 12 offensive rebounds to Notre Dame’s five.
The Irish missed their first two shot attempts of the second half before hitting three-straight.
Pflueger again connected on a triple to start the scoring for the Irish, which followed a three-point play from Wilkes to open the second half scoring.
Mooney came right back after Pflueger with a dunk while being fouled. He converted on the and-one chance to cut the UCLA lead to 34-26 with 18:18 remaining.
UCLA quickly responded with a 5-0 run to push the lead back to 39-26 behind another three from Ali and a dunk via Brown. Pflueger hit another three-pointer which led to a timeout from the Irish with the team down 39-29 with 17:20 left.
Back-to-back jumpers from Harvey and Mooney cut the UCLA lead to just two possessions at 39-33 before Brown was fouled on a dunk attempt leading into the under-16 media timeout. The buckets from Harvey and Mooney made it five-straight makes for Notre Dame after missing their opening two attempts.
Gibbs scored right after the break to make it 39-35 UCLA. Guard Jaylen Hands went on a personal 5-0 run with just over 14 minutes remaining to push UCLA’s lead back to 46-37 before the Irish closed it back down 48-43 behind buckets from guard Dane Goodwin, forward Juwan Durham and Gibbs. Hands scored the next four points for the Bruins to make it nine-straight for his team to help UCLA lead 50-43 with under 11 minutes left.
Notre Dame wouldn’t go away though as the Irish pulled off a 9-0 run over the next three minutes or so.
After a UCLA three-pointer put the Bruins up 53-45, Hubb scored a layup while Harvey drilled a three-pointer and a jumper to cut the lead to 53-52 after a 7-0 run in a span of 1:29. The spurt forced a timeout from Alford to regroup his team.
A foul by the Bruins on the baseline put Hubb on the line for the bonus with 6:50 on the clock. The freshman calmly hit both to give Notre Dame its first lead since 8-5 early in the first half.
Notre Dame continued to play strong defense, which led to a three-pointer from Gibbs on the other end to push its lead to 57-53. A three-pointer from Hands just over a minute later made it 59-57 Notre Dame with 4:49 left.
Harvey made a clutch for the Irish following a missed bucket getting a steal and forcing a turnover. The ball eventually found Pflueger in the corner for his fourth triple of the game and a 62-57 Notre Dame lead with 3:39 left.
Harvey got to the bucket but missed with contact, which led to a dunk on the other end from Ali to cut the Irish lead to 62-59 with 2:43 remaining. A foul by Hubb with 2:16 sent Ali to the line for three free throws. The senior hit all three to tie the game at 62 apiece.
Both teams combined to miss their next seven shots with the Irish getting a rebound after UCLA couldn’t connect on a three-pointer with just over 30 seconds remaining.
Hubb was able to get to the bucket, but was blocked from behind by Hill, which was grabbed by Ali. The senior rushed up the court and found Wilkes who was trailing behind for a contested three-pointer. Wilkes drained the attempt despite still experiencing some cramping that had crept up earlier in the half with just .9 seconds remaining.
Notre Dame was unable to get a shot off in time from mid-court giving UCLA the 65-62 win.
The Bruins went on an 8-0 run over the final 2:43 to avoid losing a game they controlled for much of the contest.
Pflueger finished with a team-high 14 points in the loss while Mooney went for his fifth double-double of the season at 12 points and 11 rebounds. Harvey added 13 points and six rebounds to round out the top scorers for the Irish.
After shooting under 25 percent in the first half, Notre Dame connected on 16-of-31 attempts (51.6 percent) to push their overall total to 36.4 percent (24-of-66). UCLA finished 34.3 percent from the floor (24-of-70).