Blue and Gold Illustrated

January 2020

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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46 JANUARY 2020 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED MEN'S BASKETBALL BY TODD D. BURLAGE N otre Dame men's basketball head coach Mike Brey had an up-and-down couple of weeks. Riding a six-game winning streak, Brey believed his team was well- equipped traveling to College Park, Md., to stand toe-to-toe with No. 3 Maryland in an ACC-Big Ten Chal- lenge matchup Dec. 4. It wasn't. Maryland bullied and battered the over-matched Irish and sent them back to South Bend with a 72-51 loss. "They smothered us," Brey said of his team shooting only 29.0 percent (18 of 62) in the game. "It almost de- moralizes you playing against that." Adding injury to insult in the game, Notre Dame lost the services of sopho- more guard Robby Carmody for the rest of the season after he tore an ACL in the closing seconds of this blow- out loss. He was taken off the court by wheelchair and had successful knee surgery upon his return to South Bend. "That's a loss," Brey said, "because [Carmody] was starting to trend up as a basketball player." Talk about cruel fate — Carmody's injury came only a couple of days af- ter another sophomore, forward Chris Doherty, announced that he was trans- ferring and his career at Notre Dame was over, effective immediately, leav- ing Brey with only eight scholarship players the rest of this season. "It'll be a happy locker room be- cause you can't bench anybody," Brey said sarcastically. "Everybody has to play." So much so, Brey added, that assis- tant coach Ryan Ayers — a former Irish player — might have to lace 'em up at practice to keep roster numbers up. "We'll figure it out," Brey said. And just when it seemed like the situation couldn't get any worse, Notre Dame returned to action Dec. 7 and lost 73-72 at home to ACC foe Boston College, a team the Irish had defeated 13 straight times and were favored to defeat by 13 points. In a candid post-game press con- ference, Brey took full blame for the outcome against the Eagles, calling it his "worst week as a coach here at Notre Dame." Brey was referencing his team's "feel sorry for ourself" at- titude after the loss of a game and a player at Maryland. "Absolutely my worst week," Brey said. "I don't think I did a very good job preparing us for Maryland and even in the game. And then we come back, and we're moping a little bit because we got our butts whooped and we got a guy down, and I didn't push it or address it. "I don't think I had a really good week helping our guys." Brey's spirits and the team's psyche were lifted three days later when the Irish rebounded with a 110-71 home win over Detroit Mercy, a historic victory in many ways. The 110 points were the most for a Notre Dame team since 2002 when it scored 116 in a four-overtime game against Georgetown, and the most in a regulation game since 1986 when Irish head coach Digger Phelps' team hung 126 on Miami. The Irish tied school records with 33 assists and 20 made three- pointers, while also recording sea- son highs with 49 first-half points, 61 second-half points, 59.4-percent shooting from the field, 51.3-percent shooting from three-point range and 45 bench points. "Your offense woke up a little bit to- night," Brey said postgame, all smiles. "I like how we responded. Maybe this sets up a better week for me." SHARING IS CARING Using a negative to illustrate a pos- itive to how Notre Dame runs its of- fense, in the losses to Maryland and Boston College, the Irish combined for 32 assists and 30 turnovers — yet still led the nation afterward in as- sist-to-turnover ratio. As of Dec. 16, the Irish were still first in the country in that category with a ratio of 1.82. "That's where we belong," said Brey, whose teams routinely rank na- tionally in the top five of this category. Roller Coaster Ride Rock bottom leads to record performance for the Fighting Irish After struggling with his shooting in losses at Maryland and against Boston College, sophomore guard Dane Goodwin responded with a career-high 27 points on 10-of-13 shooting, including a 5-of-7 effort from three-point range, in the 110-71 win against Detroit Mercy Dec. 10. PHOTO BY ALAN WASIELEWSKI/FIGHTING IRISH MEDIA

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