The Big Ten got its first win in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge from Iowa’s offensive firepower. The Hawkeyes, playing in front of a raucous crowd, held off a Notre Dame second half comeback, countering the rally and holding off the Fighting Irish in a 98-93 win on Tuesday night.
The Irish posted 43 points in the first half and still trailed by nine heading into the break. Notre Dame used a 14-3 run to take a 57-55 before the first media timeout of the second half.
Though the Iowa offense Roy Devyn Marble responded to Notre Dame’s run with 13 (of his 17) straight points of his own. The Irish couldn’t stop him, and if it wasn’t Marble, it was Aaron White (20 points) or Jarrod Uthoff (17 points) or any of the other Hawkeyes that scored in double figures that made plays down the stretch.
The Hawkeyes shot 57 percent (53 from three). Notre Dame shot over 50 percent (41 from deep) and like Iowa had multiple double-digit scoring, including Eric Atkins’ 23 to go along with Sherman’ s big night. Iowa wasn’t there defensively either, but the Hawkeyes had more weapons to win the shootout, while also outrebounding the Irish by 10.
The Irish fought back to get into the game, led by Garrick Sherman’s career-high 29 points, but the same problems for Mike Brey’s program caught up to them late in the game. Notre Dame couldn’t get enough stops — whether it was man-to-man or zone — to complete the comeback.
This was a good test for each team. Iowa was coming off a tough loss in the Battle 4 Atlantis title game against Villanova and Notre Dame was playing its first road game of the season. Iowa showed its a talented and deep team, averaging a tick under 90 points per game. Although Notre Dame found itself in a hole early, the Irish battled back, but the similar problems we’ve seen so far handed them their second loss of the season.
On Nov. 17, Notre Dame allow Indiana State to hit 11 threes, 55 percent from deep, on its way to an 83-70 win. And that was in South Bend. If Notre Dame can’t defend, how does it expect to contend in the ACC with the likes of Duke and Syracuse, which both have impressive perimeter attacks of their own?
Notre Dame has three games at home against Delaware, Bryant and North Dakota State — none of them high-major teams, but all contenders in their respective conference — before games against Indiana and Ohio State, both games on neutral floors.