Jan. 21, 2013
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Notre Dame coach Mike Brey didn’t know what to say to his team after being thoroughly beaten by Georgetown in one of the worst home losses in recent memory for the Fighting Irish.
“I told them I don’t have much to say because I don’t know where to start,” Brey said after No. 24 Notre Dame’s 63-47 loss on Monday night. “So let’s get together at 8 a.m. and let’s figure it out. And I don’t know what we’ll do at 8 am. We might watch film. We might practice real hard.”
Otto Porter scored 19 points and Georgetown held the Irish (15-4, 3-3 Big East) to a season-low 35 percent shooting, handing Notre Dame its third loss in four games. It was a dismal night for Notre Dame’s offense, which recorded season lows in points, field goal percentage (35 percent) and assists (11).
The Irish went on long stretches without scoring in both halves, while Georgetown (13-4, 3-3) shot 53 percent from the field.
It was Notre Dame’s third Big East home loss over their past 24 conference home games. The game was reminiscent of last season’s 59-41 win by Georgetown over the Irish in Washington, when the Hoyas held Notre Dame to its lowest point total in nearly four years by limiting the Irish to 33 percent shooting.
“I think this league is crazy,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “I think our defensive effort was really good today. We were on the same page and we made things difficult for them. That’s just hard work. There’s no magic formula here, our guys just sucked it up and played hard today.”
Jerian Grant led Notre Dame with 13 points while Pat Connaughton had 12 points and Jack Cooley added 10 points with 10 rebounds.
Notre Dame set the tone with their offensive woes early. The Hoyas got off to a 10-4 run over the first 4:44 of the game, fueled by 3s from Porter and Jabril Trawick, while the Irish hit just one of their first five field goal attempts.
“It was key to come out from the tip, get that quick start and jump right on,” Porter said.
Notre Dame scored only eight points over the first 10 minutes, hitting just three of their first 10 shots from the field.
Cooley appeared frustrated early, hitting just one of his first four attempts.
Notre Dame appeared poised to overcome big deficits twice in the game.
Georgetown went cold late in the first half, hitting just 3 of 10 shots over a 6-minute span that allowed the Irish to pull within 25-21. But after Thompson called a timeout with 4:01 to play in the half, Markel Starks hit a baseline jumper to make it 27-21. The Hoyas then finished the half on a 7-0 run.
Notre Dame came into the second half with energy, reeling off a 10-0 run early to cut the margin to 40-37. But they then went scoreless over a 7-minute stretch, as the Hoyas went on an 18-0 spurt and put the game out of reach.
During that stretch, Notre Dame reserve freshman guard Cameron Biedscheid, shooting 43 percent on the season, missed two 3-pointers, a jumper and a layup.
“We knew they were going to make their run, and we just tried to stay composed,” Porter said. “We don’t want to get rattled or anything like that, and we did a very good job at that.”
Georgetown outhustled Notre Dame to loose balls on both ends of the court and outrebounded the Irish 35-24.
“I’m sorry the fans had to watch that,” Brey said. “It was like men versus boys. They really flustered us. Give credit to Georgetown. Any time we started to make a run, they made shots. We’re struggling a little bit right now.”
Georgetown was coming off a 61-58 loss to South Florida, a game in which they had let an 11-point lead evaporate. So Thompson said it’s too early to evaluate his team.
“We have to continue to get better,” Thompson said. “How would I sum us up? We weren’t good the other night. We were good tonight. Hopefully we’ll be good the next night.”
Cooley said his experienced team must find a way to respond after getting “punched.”
“We’ve just got to play better than that,” Cooley said. “That was just not a good effort at all. We just can’t start off halves really well and then slack off near the end. We have to keep up the intensity the entire second half.”