Mike Brey’s Notre Dame basketball team traveled to the west coast for a matchup with the UCLA Bruins and came up a play short of winning.
It was the first true road game of the season for the Notre Dame basketball team. While it wasn’t a hostile environment, you would have thought there was something wrong with the rims: Whether they were too tight, too loose, or had a lid on them, Notre Dame couldn’t find the bottom of the net. In the first half, things went from bad to worse as quickly as they could.
It was the lowest scoring half and lowest shooting percentage for Notre Dame this season, as the Irish only posted 20 points while shooting 23 percent from the field. With the youngest squad head coach Mike Brey has ever had, Notre Dame couldn’t get even a comfortable looking shot off.
Nothing was clicking for the Irish. Notre Dame failed to record a point in almost nine game minutes between the end of the first half and the start of the second.
But with the Bruins up by 13 points, the Irish were far from finished. The rims opened up and Notre Dame finally found a rhythm and utilized a quick 7-0 to cut into UCLA’s lead.
All of a sudden, it was a game once again. In his Southern California homecoming, Rex Pflueger knocked down multiple three-pointers during the comeback. Pflueger’s confidence was contagious and Notre Dame’s offense started to look more confident, while the shot selection began to make all the difference.
DJ Harvey went on a run himself to finish with 13 points on the night, but it was the freshman Prentiss Hubb making the clutch free throws to give Notre Dame the lead with 6:49 left.
As it came down to the wire, one team knew how to make winning plays, and on this night, it wasn’t the Irish.
In the end, Hubb had one more opportunity under the basket to give the Irish the advantage in the final seconds. That hope ricocheted off the backboard by Jalen Hill. UCLA only shot 34-percent, but in transition the Indiana native, Kris Wilkes knocked down an unbalanced pull up three pointer icing the game.
The youth of Notre Dame fails to find a way to win for the third time this season and the second game in a row. There now will be a higher emphasis to win on Saturday’s Crossroad Classic vs. Purdue.