John Mooney and Martinas Geben Shine, Irish Run Out of Gas Down the Stretch

NCAA Men's Basketball, North Carolina, Notre Dame
(Photo by Notre Dame Athletics)

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish fell to the University of North Carolina on Monday evening 83-66.  John Mooney was one of the bright spots for the Irish as the team only managed to shoot 38 percent from the field for the game. On the contrary, UNC shot 53 percent from the field for the game despite only going 6-16 from deep.

Because both teams were playing their 3rd game in a short period of time, bench play and minutes played was going to be incredibly important. For the game, North Carolina did not have a player that played more than 34 minutes. Additionally, UNC was able to play 10 players other than the walk-ons that played the final minute. On the contrary, ND only played 8 players. Furthermore, Notre Dame had 3 players play more minutes than any one individual for the Tar Heels. A positive for the Irish was the fact that the bench outscored the Tar Heels bench 24-11.

A Closer Look

Farrell and Gibbs combined for 19 points on 4-27 shooting. As I mentioned in the preview, the duo both average 16 points per game individually. In addition, I felt that the Irish needed big performances out of both players to be able to contend. Both struggled and consequently, other than Mooney and Geben, many others players struggled to get going.

Additionally, for the season, the Irish average 76 percent from the free throw line. Unfortunately, for the game Notre Dame struggled tremendously to make free throws. For the game the Irish missed 7 free opportunities and finished 13-20 for the game.

John Mooney looks to score vs UNC
John Mooney shoots a three-point basket against UNC (Photo Courtesy of AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

John Mooney

John Mooney scored a career high 18 points as he poured in a perfect 6-6 from behind the line. Mooney also pulled down 6 rebounds for the game. John Mooney played a total of 32 minutes out of the possible 40 for the game. The only negative for him in the game was the 0-3 he went at the free throw line. Furthermore, if he would have sank all three of those free throws, he would have brought the team with in one at 53-52.

Martinas Geben

Geben also played a great game for the Irish. Unfortunately, Geben was limited in his action due to 2 early foul calls that occurred in the first 5 minutes of the game. He Finished with 18 points on 8-9 shooting while pulling down 7 rebounds.

UNC Goes Running

UNC closed the game on a 30 to 17 run from the point where Mooney missed those three free throws. During that stretch, UNC seemed to make difficult shot after difficult shot. Furthermore, UNC succeeded at getting out in transition to finish the game as well. The deadly combination of difficult shot making and getting out in transition was too much for Notre Dame to handle. Lastly, the Tar Heels out-rebounded the Irish 42-29 for the game. The Irish failed to contain the Tar Heels in many of the categories I felt necessary to give them a chance to win. Lastly, Joel Berry dominated for the Tar Heels. Berry scored 21 points on 8-15 shooting including a couple of made three-point shots.

What’s Next

Notre Dame will get a few days to refill their tanks as they do not play again until this upcoming Saturday. The Irish will be on the road again as the head to Chestnut Hill to face the Eagles from Boston College. The game is scheduled to start at 4 EST. Additionally, the Irish are expected to get Freshman Guard DJ Harvey back after missing the past few weeks due to a bone bruise in his knee.

The Irish will look to rebound from the loss as only a few conference games remain for the team to impress the selection committee as they look to earn a bid for the NCAA Tournament. Look for Gibbs and Farrell to get back on track. Lastly, John Mooney and Martinas Geben will look to continue building on their solid performances from this evening.

Stay tunes to @ISC_ND and our head ND Basketball writer @tborg3 for more updates on the Irish.

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