When the shooting went dry for Mike Brey’s Notre Dame basketball team, the young Irish failed to find a way to overcome Radford in the 63-60 loss.
Last week it was Elijah Burns who led the inexperienced Notre Dame basketball team when they needed it the most versus Chicago State. This time John Mooney was the one to step up. He lit up Purcell Pavilion Wednesday night in the first half, but his career-night wouldn’t end up being good enough.
The junior had Notre Dame’s first nine points on the floor. His first half shooting showcase reached 12-points on 4-4 shooting from downtown before ever missing a shot.
But, the Irish forward wasn’t the only shooter exhibiting a noteworthy performance early on. Caleb Tanner hit four three-pointers in the first half with 14 points for the Highlanders.
Even as Mooney watched shot after shot go in, he alone wasn’t enough to create separation from Radford. The Highlanders stayed within striking distance and with 16:26 left to go in the second half, they took the lead.
While Radford’s lead didn’t last long, a few minutes later, it was clear that Notre Dame started to have a sense of urgency as the Highlanders made things too close for comfort.
In Mike Brey fashion, the defense switched things up going with a press that changed into a 2-3 zone and the zone randomly transforming into man defense. That switch changed the game, forcing both teams to push the ball and find ways to get attempts off in an otherwise slow night.
As the pace picked up, one team reaped the benefits. The three-pointers that Notre Dame once found success with started to run dry. Radford took advantage.
The Irish missed nine shots in a row late in the game, and to make matters worse, rebounding was not a success for Notre Dame on this night. The Irish came away with only 15-rebounds throughout the game.
With their backs against the wall, it was clear that the Irish lacked one major key, their go-to guy.
Notre Dame lacks identity as they try to find the best rotation for their roster. While they were able to use their first two games to experiment, time ran out and there was no final push from the Irish as they fall to 2-1.