Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Pittsburgh’s Jamel Artis (1) shoots between Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia (32) and V.J. Beachem (3) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
(AP Photo/Robert Franklin)

Young scores 25, No. 24 Pittsburgh beats Notre Dame 86-82

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Michael Young scored a season-high 26 points and No. 24 Pittsburgh held on after wasting a big lead for an 86-82 victory over Notre Dame on Saturday.

The Irish used a 9-0 run to cut a 16-point deficit to 79-77 on a 3-pointer by Demetrius Jackson and layup by Steve Vasturia. James Robinson ended a 1-of-9 shooting streak for the Panthers with a basket inside.

The Irish (10-5, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) closed to 83-80 on a dunk by Jackson and had a chance to tie it on a 3-pointer by Matt Ryan, but it missed badly. Young hit a free throw with 11.5 seconds left. The Irish closed to 84-82 on a layup with 6 seconds left, but Robinson made a pair of free throws with 5 seconds left to clinch the win for the Panthers (14-1, 3-0).

Jamel Artis added 19 points for the Panthers and Sheldon Jeter had 18 as the Panthers dominated inside, outscoring the Irish 40-24 in the paint and outrebounding the Irish 34-24.

Jackson led the Irish with 26 points, Bonzie Colson and Steve Vasturia added 13 and Zach Auguste added 12.

Notre Dame cut Pittsburgh’s 18-point lead to four-points late in the first half, but the Panthers, playing their first road game, led 49-43 at halftime and regained control by opening the second half on a 9-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Artis as the Panthers won their 10th straight.

The Irish, who lost at home for the first time this season, used a 14-1 run to cut the lead to 73-64 on a basket inside by Bonzie Colson. Young ended the run by the Irish by making 3 of 4 free throws, and Sheldon Jeter had a three-point play to extend the lead to 79-68.

Young started the game with a three-point play 15 seconds in when he was fouled by Bonzie Colson and had 14 points in the first seven minutes on 5-of-6 shooting. He sat the first 10 minutes of the second half, though, after picking up two fouls in the final 64 seconds of the first half.

The Panthers overwhelmed the Irish early, jumping to a 13-0 lead as the Irish missed their first four shots and the Panthers made it 15-2 when Young made his fourth straight shot. Pittsburgh hit 10 of its first 12 shots, extending the lead to 28-10 on a 3-pointer by Chris Jones. Demetrius Jackson began getting the Irish back into it by making four straight 3-pointers, cutting the lead to 33-22.

TIP-INS

Pittsburgh: The Panthers entered the game leading the nation in free throw shooting at 79 percent. They made 20 of 24 on Saturday. … The Panthers were 10 of 19 from 3-point range. … Pitt’s reserves outscored Notre Dame’s bench 26-10.

Notre Dame: Jackson had a career-high five 3-pointers. … Notre Dame scored 43 points in the first half, the most allowed by Pitt in a half this season. … Notre Dame’s first turnover came 81 seconds into the second half when Rafael Maia stole the ball from Beachem. … Zach Auguste fouled out with 5:53 to play.

UP NEXT

Pittsburgh: travels to Louisville on Thursday.

Notre Dame: hosts Georgia Tech on Wednesday.

Indiana rallies past Notre Dame with 17-2 second half run

Indiana guard Yogi Ferrell (11), right, drives on Notre Dame guard Demetrius Jackson (11) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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Following a Demetrius Jackson tip dunk with 6:32 remaining that gave Notre Dame a 71-63 lead, Indiana looked to be in serious trouble at the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis. They weren’t stringing together stops defensively, thus preventing them from making a dent in the Fighting Irish advantage despite knocking down shots on the other end.

But Indiana went to a zone defensively and received a much-needed spark from Troy Williams, sparking a 17-2 run that turned the eight-point deficit into an 80-73 victory.

The junior wing scored seven of Indiana’s final 17 points, finishing with 18 points and ten rebounds on the afternoon. Williams’ intensity, like that of his teammates, hasn’t always been present this season especially on the defensive end of the floor. But that changed down the stretch against Notre Dame, with Bonzie Colson (24 points, eight rebounds) and V.J. Beachem (18 points) both going quiet as a result. Notre Dame shot a respectable 45.5 percent in the second half, but a lot of that damage was done early in the stanza.

Mike Brey’s team led by as much as 16, but the Hoosiers managed to avoid the play that could have served as the knockout blow. Ultimately the Hoosiers would take advantage of Notre Dame’s missed opportunities, and their play in the final six-plus minutes should be something for Tom Crean’s team to build upon.

But the question that begs asking is a simple one: why can’t Indiana play that way on a consistent basis?

There’s no question that the talent is present, with Ferrell running the point and multiple players capable of scoring on the wings such as Williams, James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson. But there hasn’t been a consistent commitment to getting stops instead of simply relying on their offensive talents and the mindset that “we’ll just get the points back on the other end.”

If Indiana is to compete with the likes of Michigan State, Maryland and Purdue in Big Ten play, they have to play with greater consistency and commitment on defense. Colson and Zach Auguste were a big reason why Notre Dame scored 46 points in the paint, as Indiana continues to struggle with its interior defense and that may be a trend the Hoosiers simply have to deal with. The move to zone helped Indiana account for this issue, and unlike their failed comeback attempt against UNLV last month the Hoosiers finished the job this time around.

The last six-plus minutes showed, to a certain extent, what Indiana is capable of when fully engaged. But the fact that they don’t play that way consistently is why there’s been so much frustration with this group. Can Saturday’s win serve as the spark Indiana needs? That remains to be seen.

VIDEO: Monmouth celebrates win over No. 17 Notre Dame

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Five ranked teams fell on Thanksgiving Day, with one of those being 17th-ranked Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish ran into Monmouth, which already had a win at UCLA to its credit, at the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando and lost 70-68 after Justin Robinson hit two free throws with 3.6 seconds remaining.

The Hawks are now 3-1 on the season, with their lone defeat coming at the hands of a USC team that has also surprised people with their strong start. Above is video of the Hawks’ locker room celebration, complete with Austin Tilghman proclaiming that the Hawks “have the juice,” Daniel Pillari enjoying some of said juice and Robinson making it known that besides themselves and their fans “nobody knew we were going to come in here and do this.”

Next up for Monmouth is Dayton in Friday’s semifinals, with the Flyers coming off of a highly-entertaining win over Iowa.

Video credit: Monmouth Digital Network

Justin Robinson, Monmouth knock off No. 17 Notre Dame

King Rice
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Less than two weeks after they opened their season with an upset win at UCLA, Monmouth picked up its first-ever win over a team ranked in the AP Top 25.

Two Justin Robinson free throws with 3.6 seconds remaining proved to be the difference as King Rice’s Hawks upset No. 17 Notre Dame at the Advocare Invitational in Orlando, and the diminutive point guard was a problem for the Fighting Irish all night.

Robinson scored 22 points, with 14 of them coming from the foul line as Notre Dame’s guards struggled to keep the quick guard contained off the dribble. He was one of three Hawks to score in double figures, and their combination of depth and athleticism proved problematic for Mike Brey’s team. All five Notre Dame starters scored in double figures, with Demetrius Jackson’s 20 leading the way, but the lack of depth proved problematic as the game wore on.

Notre Dame didn’t get a single point from its bench, with Matt Farrell and Matt Ryan combining to play 28 minutes. That lack of depth not only cost Notre Dame Thursday night, but it’s something they’ll have to figure out if they’re to be a contender in the ACC. Jackson and Steve Vasturia ran into foul trouble against Monmouth, and the lack of a bench option capable of picking up the slack led to Monmouth building up a ten-point lead in the second half.

Notre Dame tried to account for that by slowing down the tempo, but in doing so they struggled to find quality looks against the Monmouth defense. And given the players at Rice’s disposal, it’s tough to slow the game down against a team that can get after you on both ends of the floor.

Monmouth entered this season with expectations of contending for a MAAC title alongside the likes of perennial favorites Iona and Manhattan, and their start to the season backs up that belief. With two players in Robinson and Deon Jones who have earned all-conference honors during their careers and a host of contributors that includes guards Je’lon Hornbeak and Micah Seaborn, this is a group to keep an eye on as the season wears on.

Because if they can earn a bid, Monmouth’s non-conference schedule will have them prepared for the NCAA tournament.

Guard Nikola Djogo verbally commits to Notre Dame

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Having already landed one guard in its 2016 recruiting class in talented point guard T.J. Gibbs, Notre Dame landed a second Wednesday night. 6-foot-6 guard Nikola Djogo, who attends Athlete Institute/Orangeville Prep in Canada, announced via Twitter that he will play his college basketball for Mike Brey.

Djogo joins Gibbs and forward John Mooney in Notre Dame’s 2016 recruiting class at this point in time.

This fall the left-handed Djogo will play for an Orangeville Prep program that last year had Kentucky freshman Jamal Murray and 2016 five-star forward Thon Maker on its roster. Djogo was a member of Canada’s U17 national team in the summer of 2014, playing in a reserve role at the FIBA U17 World Championships, and he finished with averages of 4.2 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.

Djogo has the versatility to play multiple positions on the perimeter (likely the two or three at Notre Dame given the presence of Gibbs), which should mesh well with what Notre Dame likes to do offensively in having multiple guards capable of making plays. The Fighting Irish don’t have a senior in their current backcourt, with Demetrius Jackson and Steve Vasturia both being juniors.

But in the case of Jackson, who’s projected by Draft Express to be a first round pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, it doesn’t hurt to add some depth with an eye towards the possibility of this being his final season in South Bend.

Four-star 2016 power forward down to six schools

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Just a couple days removed from taking his first official visit, one of the top power forwards in the Class of 2016 has reportedly cut his school list to six.

As first reported by Evan Daniels of Scout.com, Javin DeLaurier has narrowed his school list to Arizona, Duke, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Stanford and Texas. DeLaurier, who played alongside Kentucky commit Sacha Killeya-Jones at the adidas Uprising Summer Championships on the Team Loaded VA team that won the event, took an official visit to Notre Dame this past weekend.

Also of note in the report is that DeLaurier has three other official visits set up: Texas this upcoming weekend, Stanford beginning October 10 and Duke beginning October 24.

Notre Dame, which also hosted commits T.J. Gibbs and John Mooney during the football team’s shellacking of Texas, has to account for the eventual loss of two seniors in its front court in Zach Auguste and Austin Burgett. Add in the fact that the Fighting Irish did not add a scholarship freshman to its front court in the Class of 2015, and it’s understandable that Mooney and DeLaurier would be important recruiting targets for them.

Texas, which like Notre Dame did not bring in a big man in its 2015 recruiting class, has three seniors in its front court in Connor Lammert, Cameron Ridley and Prince Ibeh. Stanford and Duke have seniors in their respective front courts, but they also have some young players to build with. The Cardinal added Josh Sharma to a group that includes sophomores Michael Humphrey and Reid Travis, and Duke has Rice transfer Sean Obi and freshman Chase Jeter on board.

Arizona (three seniors) and North Carolina (two seniors, two juniors) are both in positions similar to that of Notre Dame and Texas, as they have multiple upperclassmen in their respective front court rotations entering the 2015-16 campaign. It should be noted that in the case of Arizona the Wildcats added multiple freshmen to their front court rotation (Ray Smith and Chance Comanche), while North Carolina (which received a commitment from Tony Bradley Jr. last week) adds just one in Luke Maye.