Season-high 20 turnovers sink Notre Dame in 68-53 loss to Virginia
BY LAMOND POPE Sun-Times Media January 28, 2014 10:14PM
Virginia forward Joe Harris passes between Notre Dame guard Demetrius Jackson, left, and Steve Vasturia, right, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, in South Bend, Ind. Virginia won 68-53 with Harris scoring 9 points. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)
Updated: January 28, 2014 10:55PM
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Steve Vasturia stole the ball from Virginia’s Joe Harris. Seconds later, the Cavaliers regained possession as London Perrantes took the ball away from the Irish’s Pat Connaughton.
Virginia pushed it ahead to Malcolm Brogdon, who ended the wild sequence with a three-pointer.
Notre Dame was uncharacteristically sloppy with the ball. And Virginia took advantage on the way to a 68-53 victory Tuesday at Purcell Pavilion.
“They thoroughly beat us down,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said.
The Irish had a season-high 20 turnovers, 13 of which came in the first half. Notre Dame entered the game averaging just 10.1 turnovers per contest.
“I don’t know if you ever survive 13 first half turnovers and deserve to win a game,” Brey said. “We made some bad decisions, but they are really good defensively. They kind of imposed their will on us and broke our spirit a little bit.
“You look at one of those and you are kind of amazed it only counts as one loss.”
Virginia scored 29 points off of Notre Dame’s turnovers.
“You can’t turn the ball over,” said Demetrius Jackson. “We have to take better care of the ball. We have a lot of things to work on. And that’s one of them.”
Brogdon led the Cavaliers (16-5, 7-1 ACC) with 16 points.
Jackson and Zach Auguste scored 10 points for the Irish. Notre Dame (11-10, 2-6) has lost six out of its last seven.
Virginia couldn’t miss early. The Cavaliers made 8 of their first 10 shots to take a 19-9 lead.
“We were sharing the ball, making the extra pass,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “Trying to wear them down a little bit, passing up a decent shot for a better one.”
The Perrantes steal and Brogdon three-pointer stretched the lead to 26-12 with 6:43 left in the first half.
Notre Dame’s best charge came before halftime. The Irish went on a 9-0 run, with Jackson scoring five of the points, to cut the deficit to 34-24 at halftime.
Notre Dame did not carry over that momentum.
Virginia started the second half on a 9-0 run to essentially put the game out of reach.
The game left the Irish searching for answers as they enter the second half of the conference season.
“We’re not the most confident group,” Brey said. “You can’t inject anybody with confidence.”