Jan. 13, 2018
By Robby Hamman
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Trailing No. 20/18 North Carolina (14-4, 3-2 ACC) by one at 69-68 with 7.1 seconds remaining in regulation, Notre Dame’s (13-5, 3-2 ACC) T.J. Gibbs raced down the floor and had two great looks at the rim but the final shot rimmed out at the horn and the Tar Heels escaped with the victory.
Gibbs led the Irish in scoring with 19 points and added a team-high six assists and five rebounds. Senior forward Martinas Geben poured in 14 points and paced the team in rebounding with nine boards. Freshman Nikola Djogo had a career-high 12 points and four rebounds.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Irish and Tar Heels played a highly contested first half, as neither side led by more than four over the opening 20 minutes of play. North Carolina took a three-point advantage into the half at 40-37. The Irish did the majority of their damage from the three-point arc and free-throw line, knocking down five shots from distance and 10 from the charity stripe.
The Tar Heels managed to build a six-point lead with just under 10 minutes to play with the score 56-50. However, the Irish refused to go away, as Notre Dame responded with a 16-4 run to take its largest lead of the night at 66-60 with six minutes remaining. UNC answered with seven straight points of its own to regain the lead at 67-66 with 1:37 left on the clock.
Still trailing by one, Gibbs drew a foul with just 37 seconds left and calmly toed the free-throw line and knocked down two shots to give Notre Dame a 68-67 advantage. Notre Dame was then whistled for a foul with seven seconds to go and North Carolina’s Joel Berry II hit both free throws, giving the visitors the win.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Gibbs battled the entire evening and scored a game-high 19 points to lead the Irish. The sophomore connected on three shots from beyond the arc and went a perfect 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. Gibbs also dished out a team-high six assists.
NOTRE DAME STAT OF THE NIGHT
The Irish went toe-to-toe with the North Carolina bigs underneath and outrebounded the Tar Heels 45-37 for the game. Geben led the team with nine boards and freshman D.J. Harvey added eight.
NOTES OF THE GAME
- For the ninth time this season Geben finished in double figures in the scoring column, finishing with 14 points against the Tar Heels.
- With 19 points, Gibbs finished with 10-plus points for the 13th time this season and sixth consecutive game.
- Nikola Djogo scored a career-high 12 points against UNC and pulled down a personal-best four rebounds on Saturday evening.
- John Mooney made the first start of his career on Saturday against the Tar Heels
The Irish play their second straight game at home, as Notre Dame hosts Louisville at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 16 inside Purcell Pavilion. The game will air live on ESPN2.
— ND —
Robby Hamman joined Fighting Irish Media as athletics communications assistant director in September 2016, coordinating efforts for the volleyball and men’s lacrosse program. Hamman is a 2010 graduate of Bethel College, where he earned bachelor’s degrees in sport management and business administration, and earned his master’s degree in business administration from Defiance College in 2013.