Men’s basketball stunned by Notre Dame Fighting Irish at home
After a low-scoring first half that saw neither team score more than 20 points, it didn’t seem like it could get much worse. But it did, or at least for the Pirates, who fell to Notre Dame 55-42 on Wednesday night.
The loss is the Hall’s third consecutive and the first loss at home this season.
The Pirates (15-5, 4-4) put on their worst offensive performance of the season, shooting below 30 percent from the floor, in front of a sold-out student section and a crowd of more than 8,000 fans.
It was the fewest points the Pirates have scored in a game since a 93-40 loss at Duke on Nov. 16, 2005.
“If you shoot 26 percent, you’re not going to win a lot of games in this league,” head coach Kevin Willard said.
Senior guard Jordan Theodore led the Hall with 11 points and only one assist, after averaging 7.5 assists per game on the season.
Herb Pope, the Pirates’ other starting senior, leads the team in both scoring and rebounding, but shot just 2-of-16 from the floor in the game before fouling out with just six points and seven boards.
“We’re only going to be as good as those two play,” WIlliard said, referring to his two starting seniors.
The Fighting Irish (13-8, 5-3) kept all the luck to themselves because the Hall’s shooting woes continued throughout the game, from beyond the arc to the free throw line, even right underneath the basket.
“We missed a lot of shots early,” Williard said. “We had opportunities in front of the rim, even had some open shots, but we didn’t make them. We just played a little flat on the offensive end.”
It was the Hall’s defense that kept Notre Dame under 20 points in the first half.
The Pirates forced the Irish to turn the ball over 14 times in the game.
Despite the stingy defense, the Pirates were unable to capitalize on offense all night.
“I was really happy with the way we played defensively in the first half to keep us in the game,” Williard said. “I thought we did a really good job defensively, but again we missed a couple easy shots at the start of the second half to lead us to a quick demise.”
Notre Dame only edged Seton Hall by one point, 19-18, at the end of the first half.
The Pirates shot just 20.7 percent from the floor in the half, but the Fighting Irish didn’t have a much better performance, shooting only 33 percent.
In the first half, both teams struggled behind the arc as well.
The Fighting Irish made one of their nine 3-point attempts while Seton Hall was 1-of-6, with the team’s first 3-point bucket coming off the fingertips of freshman guard Haralds Karlis with 30 seconds remaining.
“I don’t think we have a lack of confidence,” Williard said. “We have a lot of ‘I’ going on right now. ‘I’m a good player. I did this. I scored that.’ I think we’ve all forgotten what’s got us to how good we were playing. We have to get back to that.”
Disappointed Pirate fans agreed with Willard, booing the team – ranked No. 25 in the country just two weeks ago – off their home court.
The ranting by Seton Hall students extended to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter post-game.
“You better have a short memory in this conference or it makes for a long year,” Williard said.
Despite their recent woes, the Pirates already boast a better overall record than last season, 20 games into the season
The Pirates return to action on Saturday night when they face Louisville at home.
Krissy Wrobel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org