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Second Half Shooting Woes Cost Irish In 63-60 Loss To Radford

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BGI/Corey Bodden

Notre Dame was unable to hold on to a six-point half time lead due to poor shooting in the second half and ultimately fell 63-60 on Wednesday night to the visiting Radford Highlanders.

The Irish got a career-night from forward John Mooney, who went for 24 points and 12 rebounds, but it was not enough to overcome.

Blue & Gold Illustrated goes half-by-half to recap the Irish loss.

FIRST HALF

Heading into the matchup with Radford, Mike Brey wanted to get out of the gates a little more efficiently offensively and went with a new starting unit of TJ Gibbs, Rex Pflueger, DJ Harvey, Mooney and Elijah Burns.

The unit as a whole was unable to accomplish Brey’s goals to begin the game making just 3-of-9 attempts in the opening nearly seven minutes, including missing their first three. Mooney was the lone Irish player to start strong knocking down 3-of-5 with all three field goals being from behind the arc to help Notre Dame lead 9-5 at the first media timeout (13:07).

The Irish held Radford however to a 2-of-12 start (16.7 percent) to keep the early advantage.

Mooney remained hot coming out of the timeout knocking down his fourth-straight three-pointer, which was quickly followed on the next position with another triple from freshman guard Robby Carmody. The quick 6-0 run put the Irish up 15-5 with 11:46 remaining.

Gibbs would get into the scoring column with a spin move in the lane and finishing on the left side of the basket to extend Notre Dame’s lead to 17-7 after the unit hit 3-of-4 shots. However, the Irish would make just one of their next four shots — the one make being another Mooney triple — while Radford connected on 3-of-4 to close the gap to 20-15 Notre Dame at the under-eight media timeout (7:10).

In his first 12 minutes of action, Mooney had 15 points and five rebounds on 5-of-8 shooting (5-of-6 behind the arc).

Radford continued to stay hot from the field making three of its next four shots to keep chipping away at the Irish lead, which sat at 27-23 with 3:34 left in the half. Mooney connected on another three-pointer, his sixth of the night, during the stretch to keep the Highlanders from taking the lead. The make tied Mooney’s career-high for points (18) and three-pointers made (six).

Highlanders’ guard Caleb Tanner was key in the run notching eight-straight of his team’s points to make it 24-23 Notre Dame with 4:24 left before Mooney’s sixth three-pointer.

A personal 5-0 run from Harvey — behind a layup and three-pointer — was countered by Radford with their own 5-0 spurt to stay down just four points. Gibbs hit a bucket in the paint to score what was the final bucket of the half and allow Notre Dame to take a 34-28 lead into the break.

Mooney led the way for the Irish with 18 points and seven rebounds to open the game while Harvey added seven points and four rebounds.The Irish 12-of-30 (40 percent) from the floor and 8-of-18 (44.4percent) behind the arc while holding Radford to 10-of-32 (31.3 percent) overall and 5-of-14 (35.7 percent) on three-point attempts.Tanner scored 14 points in the half to pace the Highlanders.

SECOND HALF

A quick 6-1 run to open the final half by Radford cut the Irish lead to just one (35-34) behind four points from forward Ed Polite Jr. Notre Dame got its first field goal at the 18:04 mark from Gibbs before an and-one opportunity from Pflueger extended the Irish lead to 40-36.

Radford followed with a 5-0 run to take its first lead of the game — and the first time the Irish had trailed all season — at 41-40 with 16:26 remaining.

The scoring went back-and-forth over the next couple of minutes with the lead changing four times before Notre Dame used a 5-0 run to take a 49-45 advantage with 12:29 left with three points from Mooney and a tough layup by Gibbs. Guard Robby Carmody ignited the Irish crowd during before the run with a steal and finishing on the end with a dunk. The freshman displayed some of the intensity he was known for coming out of high school following the finish.

Radford cut the Irish lead to two points after layup from Polite, which was the start of good streak of shooting for the Highlanders. Radford would hit seven of its next 10 shots while the Irish would hit just two of 12 allowing the group to take a 61-55 lead over the Irish with just over four minutes remaining.

Notre Dame had just six points during the run getting a three-pointer from Pflueger, a jumper via Gibbs and a free throw make from Prentiss Hubb. Radford guard Travis Fields score six points during the run to fuel the Highlanders.

A layup from Hubb and a free throw from Gibbs cut the deficit to 61-58 with 2:00 remaining.

The Irish held strong defensively, but Hubb could not get a layup to fall, which was rebounded by Polite. The Radford forward would connect on the other end to push the Highlanders lead to 63-58.

Mooney made It a one possession game just over 10 seconds later with a tip in off a miss from Gibbs. Notre Dame forced a shot clock violation giving the team an opportunity to tie and force overtime.

Mooney appeared to have a potential look, but was forced to pass it to Gibbs who was unable to connect on his three-pointer. Notre Dame forced another Highlander turnover, but with .4 seconds left and the length of the court to go, the Irish couldn’t make it happen.

Gibbs was unable to get an attempt off in time sending Radford off with a 63-60 victory in South Bend.

It was a dreadful second half effort for Notre Dame on the offensive end shooting 32.3 percent (10-of-31) overall and just 1-of-11 (9.1 percent) behind the arc while Radford countered with a 56 percent effort (14-of-25).

Mooney finished with a career-high in points (24) and rebounds (12) while Gibbs was the lone other double-digit scorer with 11 points on 5-of-16 shooting (0-of-7 from deep). Harvey added seven points and four boards while Pflueger (six), Carmody (5) and Hubb (5) rounded out the top scorers for the Irish.

Tanner led the Highlanders with 20 points while Polite added 16 points and 11 rebounds.

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