Fighting Irish are cold from start on offense
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Georgetown didn't play as well defensively against No. 24 Notre Dame on Monday night as it did last season, when it held the Fighting Irish to their lowest point total in nearly four years.
The Hoyas came awfully close, however.
They held the Irish to a season-low 35 percent shooting and a season-low point total in a 63-47 loss. The game was reminiscent of last season's 59-41 win by Georgetown over the Irish at Verizon Center, where the Hoyas held Notre Dame to 33 percent shooting and 41 points.
But Georgetown coach John Thompson III said his Hoyas, bouncing back from a disappointing loss to South Florida on Saturday, haven't found any secret to beating the Irish.
"There's no magic formula here. We just sucked it up and played hard today," he said.
The 47 points were the fewest scored by the Irish at home since a 57-32 loss to UCLA on Jan. 29, 1972.
Otto Porter, who led the Hoyas with 19 points and nine rebounds, said the key was that the Hoyas didn't get rattled when the Irish cut Georgetown's lead from 13 points to three in the second half.
"We knew they were going to make their run. We just tried to stay composed and just continue to play," he said.
The Irish went on long stretches without scoring in both halves, while Georgetown (13-4, 3-3) shot 53 percent from the field.
It was Notre Dame's third Big East home loss over its past 24 conference home games.
"I think this league is crazy," Thompson said. "I think our defensive effort was really good today. We were on the same page, and we made things difficult for them."
Jerian Grant led Notre Dame with 13 points, while Pat Connaughton had 12 points and Jack Cooley added 10 points with 10 rebounds.
The Hoyas got off to a 10-4 run over the first 4:44 of the game, fueled by 3s from Porter and Jabril Trawick, while the Irish hit just one of their first five field goal attempts.
"It was key to come out from the tip, get that quick start and jump right on," Porter said.
Notre Dame scored only eight points over the first 10 minutes, hitting just three of its first 10 shots from the field.
Cooley appeared frustrated early, hitting just one of his first four attempts.
Notre Dame appeared poised to overcome big deficits twice in the game.
Georgetown went cold late in the first half, hitting just three of 10 shots over a six-minute span that allowed the Irish to pull within 25-21. But after Thompson called a timeout with 4:01 to play in the half, Markel Starks hit a baseline jumper to make it 27-21. The Hoyas then finished the half on a 7-0 run.
Notre Dame came into the second half with energy, reeling off a 10-0 run early to cut the margin to 40-37. But it then went scoreless over a seven-minute stretch as the Hoyas went on an 18-0 spurt to put the game out of reach.
During that stretch, Notre Dame reserve freshman guard Cameron Biedscheid, shooting 43 percent on the season, missed two 3-pointers, a jumper and a layup.
Georgetown outhustled Notre Dame to loose balls on both ends of the court and outrebounded the Irish 35-24.
"I'm sorry the fans had to watch that," Brey said. "It was like men versus boys. They really flustered us. Give credit to Georgetown. Anytime we started to make a run, they made shots. We're struggling a little bit right now."
Thompson said it's too early to evaluate his team.
"We have to continue to get better," Thompson said. "How would I sum us up? We weren't good the other night. We were good tonight. Hopefully we'll be good the next night."
Cooley said his experienced team must find a way to respond after getting "punched."
"We've just got to play better than that," Cooley said. "That was just not a good effort at all. We just can't start off halves really well and then slack off near the end. We have to keep up the intensity the entire second half." - AP