LOS ANGELES – After climbing back from a second-half, double-digit deficit, Notre Dame (6-3) was defeated in the final second by a Kris Wilkes’ three-pointer that gave UCLA (7-2) a 65-62 win in Pauley Pavilion on Saturday night.
The Irish were led in scoring by California native Rex Pflueger, scoring a team-high 14 points. D.J. Harvey registered 13 points and John Mooney added 12 in the heartbreaking defeat.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Irish jumped out to an early six-point lead at 8-2 but it was short-lived as UCLA answered with a 13-0 run to go on top 15-8. Notre Dame fought back and tied the game at 20-20 off a layup by Mooney. The Irish then went cold on the offensive end and the hosts took advantage by scoring the final 11 points of the half to take a 31-20 lead into the half.
The Bruins extended its lead to 13 points at 39-26 early in the second half and then the Irish offense came to life. Notre Dame reeled off a 9-0 run in a span of a little over two minutes to cut UCLA’s lead to just four at 39-35 with more than 15 minutes left in regulation.
The hosts managed to extend its lead back to eight at 53-45 but the Irish refused to go away. Notre Dame scored 12 unanswered points to take a 57-53 lead, its first since the opening minutes of the game.
Pflueger drained a three-pointer with less than four minutes to play to give the Irish a 62-57 lead, its largest of the evening. However, the Bruins scored on a dunk and then converted three free-throw attempts to tie the game at 62-62. The Irish had a chance to take the lead in the final seconds but a shot at the rim from Prentiss Hubb was blocked and then Wilkes beat the buzzer with a three to give the Bruins the 65-62 win.
NOTRE DAME PLAYER OF THE GAME
In his homecoming game, Pflueger turned in a complete performance to lead the Irish. The senior scored a game-high 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor, including a perfect 4-for-4 effort from three-point range. Pflueger also grabbed six boards, dished out four assists and registered a steal and block.
NOTRE DAME STAT OF THE GAME
The Irish finished with nine turnovers, marking the sixth game in just nine outings this season that the team has finished with less than 10 turnovers.
NOTES OF THE GAME
- Notre Dame and UCLA played for the 49th time on Saturday night.
- Mooney’s double-double was his fifth of the season and sixth of his career. The junior’s five double-doubles lead the ACC.
- For the sixth time this season and 14th time in his career, Mooney finished in double figures in the points column.
- Mooney has grabbed 10 or more rebounds in six of his last seven games.
- With 13 points Harvey has finished in double figures six times this season and 10 times in his career.
- Pflueger registered double-digit points for the second time this season and 19th time in his career.
- Durham blocked four shots and has now notched three or more blocks in five games this season. The junior leads the Irish with 22 blocks on the season.
Notre Dame has the week off to focus on finals before beginning Christmas break with the annual Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Irish will play Purdue at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Dec. 15. The game will air on CBS.
To purchase tickets Notre Dame men’s basketball tickets visit UND.com/BuyTickets.
— ND —