MBB Falls at Notre Dame, 71-61

by Alex Schwartz

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Miami men’s basketball team dropped a 71-61 decision Sunday night at Notre Dame.

Sophomore guard Isaiah Wong scored a team-high 17 points and sophomore forward Anthony Walker posted a double-double for the Hurricanes, who once again played with just seven available scholarship student-athletes, at Purcell Pavilion.

“Notre Dame is such a proficient 3-point shooting team, but tonight we did a much better job than we’ve done,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “They ended up shooting [just 24.1] percent from three, but they scored in a lot of different ways. I thought we got some great looks and we didn’t shoot the three very well.”

After missing six of their first seven shots, the Hurricanes, who committed just one first-half turnover, made nine of their next 11, en route to building a 25-20 edge. However, Miami (7-12, 3-11 ACC) then missed 14 in a row and the Fighting Irish went on a 7-0 run to take the lead.

A quick 6-0 response, including five points by Wong put Miami back up by four, but it went scoreless for the final 3:30 of the half and Notre Dame (9-10, 6-7 ACC) leveled the game at 31 before the break. Both sides shot under 36 percent in the opening 20 minutes.

Notre Dame built a then-game-high seven-point lead, 50-43, with 10:46 to play, but the Hurricanes responded. Miami went on an 11-2 run to go in front, 54-52, on a 3-pointer by senior guard Elijah Olaniyi with 6:44 remaining.

The Fighting Irish answered right back with a 14-2 burst, grabbing a 10-point edge, 66-56, edge with 1:36 on the clock, putting the contest out of reach.

“With four minutes to go, it was a winnable game,” Larrañaga said. “They finished very, very strong and we missed a couple of layups right at the time when we had fallen behind. We had two consecutive possessions of having a layup and just missed them both.”

Wong’s 17 points came in 39 minutes, while Olaniyi notched 11 points and seven boards in 39-plus minutes. Redshirt senior guard Kameron McGusty played 38 minutes and totaled 12 points.

Walker finished with 14 and 10 rebounds to log his third collegiate double-double, while redshirt senior Nysier Brooks also grabbed 10 boards.

Redshirt senior guard Nikola Djogo led all scorers with a season-high 18 points 7-of-10 shooting for the Fighting Irish. Junior forward Nate Laszewski logged 14 points, including 12 in the second half, on 6-of-8 shooting and redshirt senior forward Juwan Durham added 12.

Junior guard Dane Goodwin chipped in 11 points and grabbed a career-best 11 rebounds to lead all players. Miami did limit junior guard Prentiss Hubb to four points on 2-of-12 shooting, including a 0-of-7 clip from 3-point range.

The Hurricanes finished 22-of-68 from the field, good for a season-low 32.4 percent mark. They shot 5-of-22 (22.7 percent) from 3-point range and 12-of-21 (57.1 percent) at the line.

Meanwhile, Miami limited the Fighting Irish to 7-of-29 (24.1 percent) shooting on 3-pointers at the other end, but they registered a 21-of-34 (61.8 percent) ledger inside the arc.

Miami now has five days without a game before hosting Georgia Tech Saturday at noon, with action set to be televised live on RSN from the Watsco Center in Coral Gables, Fla.

To keep up with the University of Miami men’s basketball team on social media, follow @CanesHoops on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

The 2020-21 Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball season is presented by First National Bank.

MIAMI HURRICANES POSTGAME NOTES
– The Hurricanes moved to 12-14 all-time against Notre Dame, including 5-7 on the road and 5-6 in Larrañaga’s tenure.
– Larrañaga, who entered the game with the 11th-most victories of any active Division I coach, is now 667-459 in 37 years as a head coach, including 197-125 in 10 seasons at Miami.
– For the first time this season, Miami used a starting lineup of Brooks, McGusty, Olaniyi, Wong and sophomore guard Harlond Beverly.
– The Hurricanes have now used 11 starting lineups in 2020-21, including a different one in each of the past six games.
– Miami once again played without three of its four returning starters: senior guard Chris Lykes (left ankle), redshirt senior center Rodney Miller Jr. (right knee, season) and redshirt senior forward Sam Waardenburg (left foot, season).
– In addition, the Hurricanes were again without freshman guard Earl Timberlake, who is out indefinitely with a lingering left shoulder injury.
– Saturday marked just the 20th time in Larrañaga’s tenure, including the 10th in ACC play, Miami has been tied at halftime, with his record moving to 10-10 (4-6 ACC) in such games.
– Neither team led by eight-plus points until the final three minutes of the game and neither led by double digits until the last two.
– The one first-half turnover for Miami was two fewer than its prior season low and marked the first time since 2/15/20 (first half vs. Wake Forest) it did not have multiple giveaways in a frame.
– Miami’s five turnovers tied for its fourth-fewest ever in ACC play and marked just the 11th time it recorded five or fewer, including the first since 1/7/20 at No. 13/11 Louisville.
– Additionally, Sunday marked just the fourth time this season an ACC team has committed five or fewer turnovers in a game, with Miami’s mark of five tying for the second-lowest number in the league in 2020-21.
– The Hurricanes shot 4-of-11 from the free-throw line in the first half, including 1-of-7 in the first seven minutes.
– Miami’s 21 free-throw attempts against Notre Dame, which leads the nation in fewest personal fouls per game (11.8), are the second-most the Fighting Irish have allowed this season, trailing only the 24 by Ohio State on 12/8/20.
– The Hurricanes’ prior season low in field-goal percentage was 32.7 (17-of-52) on 12/16/20 against Pittsburgh.
– Olaniyi, who moved past 450 made field goals in his career, scored in double figures for the 68th time, including the ninth as a Hurricane.
– Wong, who played in his 50th game at Miami, logged his 27th double-digit point total, including his 17th this season.
– Beverly, who tied a career best with two blocked shots, made his 50th appearance as a collegian, eclipsed 100 free-throw attempts and reached 50 steals.
– Walker scored in double figures for the ninth time, including the eighth this year, and reached double figures in rebounding for the third time, all this year.
– Walker, who reached 50 made free throws in his career, became the first Hurricane to notch three double-doubles this season after tallying none in 2019-20.
– In addition, Walker set a career high in field goals attempted (15) and matched his top mark in makes (six).
– Brooks grabbed double-digit rebounds for the 10th time, including the fourth as a Hurricane.
– McGusty tallied double-digit points for the 57th time, including the eighth in 2020-21.
– McGusty, who logged three steals for the first time at Miami, set a new high for ACC play in free throws attempted (nine) and equaled his top tally in makes (six).