A rare poor performance from beyond the arc led to Notre Dame’s first loss of the season.
The No. 23 Irish will try to bounce back when they take on Saint Louis in the consolation game of the Chicago Invitational Challenge on Saturday.
While the leadership of Luke Harangody is a big reason why Notre Dame (5-1) has heightened expectations this season, the sharp outside shooting of Ben Hansbrough also helped the Irish open the season with five straight victories.
Notre Dame was shooting 45.8 percent from beyond the arc to begin the season, averaging close to 20 3-point attempts per game during the undefeated start. Hansbrough, one of three Notre Dame players to start the season averaging in double figures, was shooting 66.7 percent (12 of 18) over the first five games.
Hansbrough, though, went 0 for 7 from beyond the arc in a 72-58 loss to Northwestern on Friday, finishing with a season-low four points. The senior guard has totaled 15 points in the last three games after averaging 16.0 points in the first three.
Harangody, meanwhile, scored 21 in the loss, but he couldn’t make up for the overall poor shooting by the Irish. Notre Dame went 7 of 31 from 3-point range, including 3 of 20 (15.0 percent) in the second half. Overall, the team shot 31.7 percent.
The Irish came in averaging 86.8 points and shooting 52.4 percent.
“It was just one of those nights where things didn’t go right for me,” said Harangody, who scored just seven points in the first half and finished the game 7 of 19.
“We knew they were going to come in and run the 1-3-1. “It wasn’t anything we didn’t expect. I think we just missed some shots we usually hit and weren’t able to get on a run and get in a flow.”
Notre Dame trailed by 12 in the second half before cutting the lead to one, but Northwestern continued to hit its shots. It went 10 of 25 from 3-point range, including 6 of 12 in the second half.
The Irish look to bounce back Saturday against Saint Louis (4-1), which is coming off its first loss as well.
The Billikens fell 65-54 to Iowa State on Friday. They led by one early in the second half, but the Cyclones responded with a 13-0 run to pull away.
Brian Conklin led Saint Louis with 18 points while Willie Reed had 14 points and 13 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. Reed is averaging 12.4 points and 10.0 rebounds.
The Billikens continued their tough defense Friday, holding Iowa State to 37.9 percent shooting overall, but the Cyclones hit six of their 14 3-point attempts. Saint Louis opponents are averaging 53.2 points and shooting 35.6 percent this season.