Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2024

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

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80 MARCH 2024 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED MEN'S BASKETBALL BY JACK SOBLE M icah Shrewsberry heard his guys in Notre Dame's locker room on Feb. 10 at Purcell Pavilion before he saw them. Music played. Players cheered. For the first time in a long time — one month and one day, to be exact — the Irish could let loose after a game instead of solemnly questioning what went wrong. "They deserve it, man," Shrewsberry said. "They deserve every bit of it." It's hard to blame the Irish for en- joying this one. Notre Dame took down Virginia Tech, winning 74-66 and end- ing a seven-game losing streak that dated back to Jan. 9. On paper, it doesn't mean much. When you begin a game 7-16, the differ- ence between 7-17 and 8-16 won't make or break your season. Short of a miracle run in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, the Irish will not sniff the March Madness bracket, or any bracket for that matter. But this win meant something for an Irish team that, as Shrewsberry re- minded them after the game, never stopped showing up. Notre Dame never truly folded throughout its losing streak, never showed apathy and never allowed themselves to get blown out of the building. Not even at Duke, when it certainly looked like they would for a short time. Finding sufficient words to describe the feeling of seeing it finally pay off had to have been tough, but freshman guard Markus Burton couldn't have done much better. "Us showing up every single day, busting our butts in practice, getting yelled at by Coach Shrews," Burton said. "Working hard every single day, just to get the winning feeling. "I feel like today, we showed the fans that we kept fighting and we're still here." Those fans helped, as Burton made sure to note. It wasn't a sell-out crowd, by any stretch, but it was certainly more than one would expect for a 7-16 team. Burton joined rare company with his stat line against the Hokies. The fresh- man from Mishawaka, Ind., finished with 16 points, tied his season high with 8 assists and had a season-best 6 steals — the latter tied for the third- most steals in a single game in program history. Since 1996, only two other Fight- ing Irish players have finished with at least 16 points, 8 assists and 6 steals in a game — Chris Thomas in 2001 and Jer- ian Grant in 2013. "It means a lot for us to see all the fans Fighting Irish Snap Seven-Game Losing Streak With his performance Feb. 11 against Virginia Tech, freshman guard Markus Burton became only the third Irish player since 1996 to finish with at least 16 points, 8 assists and 6 steals in a game, joining Chris Thomas (2001) and Jerian Grant (2013). PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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