Notre Dame basketball was neck and neck with North Carolina State on Saturday, but fell short by a score of 77 to 73.
Once again, Notre Dame basketball was short-handed. After playing a six-man rotation earlier in the year, the Irish were forced to play a seven-man rotation with Juwan Durham still sidelined with an ankle injury.
Mike Brey had a decision to make sooner than later. Chris Doherty pulled off the redshirt to play his first minutes in an Irish uniform against North Carolina State.
And while Notre Dame was forced to play at a faster pace than they were used to, they didn’t look too shook up about it.
In the opening minutes, it was clear; this game would be close and it would be fun. With both teams coming off of losses in their previous games, both the Irish and the Wolfpack came out swinging.
NC State came out with their constant pressure and traps as Notre Dame quickly looked out of place. Poor decision-making and tough shots quickly ended the Irish’s offensive rhythm.
John Mooney continued his dominant play with another double-double to continue leading the ACC in that category. With 19 points and 16 rebounds, the big man did what most programs would need from him, but the Irish needed more.
It wasn’t an offensive performance that would make a lot of teams proud. Notre Dame only shot 40% on the day, and that’s with Mooney and freshman Dane Goodwin combining to shoot 14-for-24. The other six Irish players shot a combined 10-for-49 from the field on the game.
The biggest bright spot in the game was the second half outburst from Dane Goodwin. The freshmen came alive on seven-of-ten shooting for 19-points while going two-of-three from beyond the arc.
Mooney and Goodwin’s performances were impressive, but nearly the only good things that the Irish were able to do on the offensive end.
Defensively, Notre Dame tried to pressure to help match NC State’s pace, but the holes were evident and the Wolfpack found each one. The wing was constantly left open and C.J. Bryce took advantage of it.
Bryce hit all five of his three-point attempts on his way to a game-high 23-points.
In typical Notre Dame fashion this season, the Irish were able to stay just within striking distance. But, that’s as close as they would get.
Small mistakes throughout the game held the Irish hostage to another close loss. Falling to 1-4 in the ACC, Notre Dame will look to bounce back against Georgia Tech Tuesday night.