Observations: Notre Dame Basketball Runs Out Of Gas In Loss To Ohio State In ACC/Big Ten Challenge
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Observations: Notre Dame Runs Out Of Gas In Loss To Ohio State

At first, Notre Dame had an answer to every punch. At the end, the Irish were a few answers short.

Notre Dame lost to No. 22 Ohio State 90-85 Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, dropping to 1-2 on the season.

Here are some observations and numbers from the game.

BOX SCORE

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Notre Dame junior guard Prentiss Hubb versus Ohio State on Dec. 8, 2020
Prentiss Hubb scored a career-high 26 points in Notre Dame's loss to Ohio State (ACC)

• This one changed when fifth-year senior forward Juwan Durham fouled out with 8:44 left in the game. With fifth-year senior guard Nik Djogo out again, head coach Mike Brey had to play one of his freshmen, guard Tony Sanders Jr. or forward Matt Zona.

• Sanders picked up two fouls in a span of 19 seconds, on a charge and then a foul on a made layup. He also lost the handle dribbling in transition. Zona played all but a few seconds of the final 6:24. Ohio State and forward EJ Liddell went right at him in the paint. His best moment was an offensive rebound and pass out to junior guard Prentiss Hubb for a tying three-pointer.

• The post-Durham minutes are where it would have been helpful to have junior guard Trey Wertz eligible. Or junior guard Robby Carmody healthy.

• Ohio State scored 37 points in the final 12:19 and averaged 1.6 points per possession in the second half. The Buckeyes committed two turnovers in the final 20 minutes and grabbed eight offensive rebounds.

• Durham hadn’t been having his best offensive game prior to the foul-out. He was 3 of 8 from the floor, an inability to elevate and finish through contact hindering him. He committed two turnovers and couldn’t corral a pass that went as a turnover on Hubb. His interior defense was reliable, though, and he was missed on the defensive glass.

• This was Hubb’s best game, without a doubt. He finished with a career-high 26 points on 8-of-17 shooting. He made five three-pointers and had six assists. He defended too. He blocked a shot off an inbound play where he denied the initial pass in and then rotated over in help for the stuff. He had two steals and was engaged off-ball.

• Notre Dame missed the front end of a one-and-one three times in the final nine minutes. Three empty possessions.

• The Irish missed 29 shots and rebounded 14 of them. Encouraging for a team not steep in size or leaping ability. But it’s a little less shiny when noting Ohio State missed 15 shots in the second half and rebounded eight of them.

Brey sure seemed to nail it when discussing Cormac Ryan’s edge and fearlessness. The junior guard is unafraid to take any shot, but picks his spots well. His feel as a passer and playmaker out of ball screens is advanced. His three-point shooting is as advertised. Ryan was 5 of 7 with 15 points in the first half. He played 39 minutes and has committed one turnover in his last two games.

• Ryan, though, was scoreless in the second half. He took one shot and missed one free throw. Ohio State guard Duane Washington was frequently on him. It’d be a more understandable goose egg if he was 0 of 5 or something around there. Notre Dame isn’t at its best when he can only take one shot in a half.

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• Notre Dame started by attacking Ohio State’s switches that put bigger players like forward Kyle Young on its guards and had junior forward Nate Laszewski matched up on a guard in the paint. Junior guard Dane Goodwin found Laszewski for a layup over two guards. Young fouled Ryan on a three-pointer. Notre Dame put Liddell in pick-and-roll defense and found a matchup it liked going at him.

• The final 3:18 of the first half may have been Notre Dame’s best stretch of the year. The Irish mounted an 8-0 run to take a 42-34 halftime lead. They forced two on-ball turnovers and some hurried shots that drew the ire of Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann. They scored on their final four possessions of the half, with a couple tough shots in the process.

• Sanders’ night started with a promising baseline drive and layup. From there, it was mainly freshmen moments and missteps. He was whistled for two charges on overly aggressive drives and lost his dribble in transition about 25 feet from the basket.

• The atmosphere of Sunday’s home opener felt like an 8 a.m. AAU game. This one had a bit of a pulse, thanks in large part to a contingent of about 50 Notre Dame football players. Daelin Hayes was among the most vocal.

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