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Canes Hoops: First Half Dooms Miami in Loss at Notre Dame

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“They say it isn’t how you start, but how you finish. Sometimes, however, digging a big hole early can do you in later in a game.”

NCAA Basketball: Miami-Florida at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

They say it isn't how you start, but how you finish. Sometimes, however, digging a big hole early can do you in later in a game, and the Miami Hurricanes learned that the hard way in a 87-71 loss at the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the Purcell Pavilion Sunday evening.

A 30-8 extended run allowed in the final nine minutes of the first half would alter the course of the night, and not in Miami’s favor.

The Irish out-rebounded UM 42-35, outshot the Canes 47-41% and scored 11 points to Miami’s two. Jim Larrañaga’s team did hold advantages in bench points (24-18) and points in the paint (36-26).

Isaiah Wong, Harlond Beverly and DJ Vasiljevic scored a team-high 12 points each, with it being the fifth straight game Wong possessed the leading point tally or shared it with a teammate. Keith Stone also had 10 points.

Chris Lykes, on the other hand, was limited to eight points while dealing with four personal fouls. It was the second game in a row where the guard missed minutes due to foul trouble.

Notre Dame featured a four-headed monster on both ends of the floor, with the biggest difference being that their quartet combined for 67 points, compared to Miami’s foursome which had just 46. T.J. Gibbs and John Mooney led the way with 19 points each, while Prentiss Hubb scored 15 and Dane Goodwin added 14.

Mooney’s game-high 12 rebounds earned his a double-double while Hubb’s 10 assists—also a game high—earned him the same accolade.

UM took a lead into the nine-minute mark of the opening half, maintaining the lead for the majority of the de facto first quarter. But that advantage would be forgotten quickly.

Notre Dame’s first half extended run was buoyed by three separate stints of scoring 8+ points in a row to put the Canes in a deficit before halftime, trailing by as many as 21 points and going into halftime down 48-29. While Notre Dame only outshot UM by nine percentage point in the first 20 minutes of the game, the major difference came on 3-point shots, where ND outshot Miami 56-17%, making 10 of their 18 shots from beyond the arc.

The Irish also committed no turnovers in the first period as Gibbs had 14 before the break, while Mooney added 11 in the same timeframe.

UM outscored Notre Dame 42-39 in the second half, but the damage had already been more than done.

Miami concludes their run of road games on Saturday at Georgia Tech, for an 8 p.m. tip. They’ll return home to take on Virginia on March 4.