Malaise Continues

Notre Dame plays poorly and without passion in 16-point home loss to unranked Georgetown.

SOUTH BEND -- It had been eight seasons since Notre Dame faced a double digit halftime deficit in South Bend. That Chris Quinn-led team failed to earn a comeback win, too, but it's the present and Monday night's end-game differential that should have head coach Mike Brey and his team's followers concerned as Georgetown ripped into the scuffling Irish, 63-47 at the Purcell Pavilion.

The Hoyas (13-4, 3-3) raced to a 21-8 lead midway through the first half and held that edge, 34-21 at the break. The lackadaisical Irish drew to within three, 40-37 with just under 13 minutes remaining but the Hoyas responded with impunity thereafter, scoring 18 straight and 21 of the game's next 25 points, eventually leading by as many as 22 as the evening, and any poll position to be gained in the Big East standings, got away from the shell-shocked hosts.

"That's a thorough beating. I'm sorry our fans had to watch that," said Brey in his court-side post-game show. "That was men vs. boys."

Georgetown outshot Notre Dame 53 percent to 34 percent. They out rebounded their hosts by 11 and created 19 assists while committing just nine turnovers. Adding insult to the equation: the Hoyas entered 15th among 16 Big East teams in both shooting and rebounding.

"I give them a lot of credit because I thought they physical out-manned us tonight and that's really disappointing," said Brey. Asked why his more experienced team responded as such, Brey offered, "I really don't know. I don't know. I'm disappointed in that. Its something we're going to have to address here over the next couple of days. Its a hard league. We're fortunate that only counted for one loss, the way that thing went."

Jack Cooley led the Irish with 10 points and 10 rebounds while Jerian Grant scored 13 and Pat Connaughton added 12. Otto Porter, Jr., led the victors with 19 points on 7 of 10 from the field while adding nine rebounds. Indianapolis-native D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera added 14 on a six for 12 shooting effort.

Notre Dame hit just 2 of 16 shots from beyond the arc while the visitors drained 7 of their 15 offerings. The Irish also missed seven free throws including the front end of bonus situations in back-to-back attempts.

"They really guarded us and I think flustered us with their defense. Anytime we tried to make a little run, they made a big shot," said Brey.

Hoyas head man John Thompson III saw a different Notre Dame team on film than the version that showed up Monday night.

"That's a terrific team. Its a terrific offensive team," said Thompson. "I think our defensive effort was really good today. We were on the same page and one unit. For a very good offensive team for the most part, we made things difficult for them."

Brey's team was anything but terrific last night. Its been that way since the group recorded a mild upset win at Cincinnati on January 7 that took their league record to 2-0. They're 3-3 at present with a trip to South Florida on tap for Saturday followed by a return home on January 30 for a date with Villanova.

The Irish will be favored in both. They'll win neither if their effort in any way resembles Monday's.

"We're kind of a .500 team in this league and quite frankly, if we can be that at the end of the year, that might be as good as it gets if we play like we did tonight," Brey offered.


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