2nd-half woes cost No. 17 Notre Dame in 70-68 loss to Monmouth

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida — A slow start in the second half cost Notre Dame.

Justin Robinson scored 22 points, including two free throws with 3.6 seconds left, and Monmouth upset the 17th-ranked Fighting Irish 70-68 in the first round of the AdvoCare Invitational on Thursday night.

"They're a good team than can win their league," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "We lost to a good team."

Robinson was fouled driving to the basket and calmly sank the decisive shots. Demetrius Jackson's midcourt jumper at the buzzer was well off the mark.

Jackson had 20 points for the Irish (3-1).

V.J. Beachem scored 11 of his 14 points and Steve Vasturia chipped in with 10 as Notre Dame went up 37-29 at halftime. Zach Auguste was held to two points during the opening 20 minutes and ended up with 12.

After being held to three first-half points, Robinson had six during the first 4 minutes of the second period to help Monmouth pull to 39-37. His three-point play gave the Hawks a 44-43 advantage with 14 minutes left.

"I think our second-half start hurt us," Brey said. "They get really confident. Their transition is so effective."

Monmouth (3-1) also got 15 points from Micah Seaborn.

"I'm very excited that our kids believed in each other, that they felt like they belonged on the court," Monmouth coach King Rice said. "When you believe in each other, anything can happen."

Robinson hit two free throws before the Fighting Irish tied it at 68 on Jackson's three-point play with 32 seconds to go. Jackson had five points during an 8-0 run that cut Notre Dame's deficit to 62-59 with 4 minutes left.

Collin Stewart's long jumper lifted Monmouth to a 51-47 lead 8 minutes into the second half. The Hawks extended it to 62-51 on a fast-break basket by Seaborn.

"Notre Dame is a really, really good team," Rice said. "How they came back down 10 that fast, a lot of credit to them."

Monmouth held a 17-14 lead 8 minutes into the game before Jackson scored his first five points, including a 3 just before the shot clock expired. Vasturia added a 3 to put Notre Dame up 22-17.

Jackson had nine first-half points, including a slam dunk during the final minute.

Je'lon Hornbeak and Seaborn both scored seven points in the opening half for Monmouth.


Monmouth: The Hawks entered averaging and allowing 85.3 points a game. ... One of Monmouth's victories this season came at UCLA, 84-81 in overtime. ... The Hawks' loss was 101-90 to USC, which beat No. 20 Wichita State 72-69 on Thursday in another first-round game.

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish are 49-8 against the MAAC.


Monmouth had 19 points off the bench, to none for Notre Dame. The Hawks also scored all 12 fast-break points in the game.


Monmouth: Advances to the semifinals and will face the Iowa-Dayton winner.

Notre Dame: Will play the loser of Iowa-Dayton in the consolation round Friday night.

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