It didn't start badly, but it did not take long for it to get there. Notre Dame lost 76-58 to Iowa State Friday night in Dayton in the second round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament in a game that steadily snowballed out of control for the Fighting Irish.
The two teams felt each other out for the first several minutes. Korie Lucious hit Iowa State's first three-pointer to give the No. 10 seeded Cyclones an early 9-6 lead, but Jerian Grant answered to tie the game at 9-9 on No. 7 seed Notre Dame's first trey of the night. A 7-0 run made it 13-9 in Notre Dame's favor, but a second ISU trey ended the run and made it 13-12.
That was as close as the game would be the rest of the night on Mike Brey's 54th birthday.
Notre Dame (25-10), a team whose trademark is low turnover total, committed an unseemly 14 turnovers in the first half alone after entering the game with a tidy 11.1 turnovers per game. They turned it over on five consecutive first half possessions to help Iowa State (23-11) to an 11-1 run and a 26-19 lead. The Irish went a stretch of 7:10 without a field goal during the Cyclone run.
The 14 turnovers in the first half by the Irish ties the most in one half since Brey took over in the 2000-2001season. After going up by four points the Irish were outscored 26-10 to close the first half and trailed 35-23 after the first 20 minutes. Iowa State committed just three first half turnovers and had six by game's end, while scoring 16 points off Notre Dame's 17 total turnovers.
Jack Cooley, who entered the game averaging 13.1 points and 10.3 rebounds, spent most of the final minutes of his career watching from the bench. The senior ended with 14 points and three rebounds in 29 minutes. Five of Cooley's points came in a late flourish in the game's final minute.
Lucious, who was a teammate of Notre Dame's Garrick Sherman at Michigan State from 2009-2011, finished with six points, while hitting two of Iowa State's nine three-pointers in the lopsided win. Georges Niang and Melvin Ejim led the Cyclones with 19 and 17 points, respectively.
Tom Knight tied Cooley with a game-high 14 points. He hit 5-of-10 shots from the field and 4-of-4 free throws. Irish guards Jerian Grant and Eric Atkins combined for 16 points on 5-of-18 shooting. Grant had a team-high five turnovers.
Iowa State connected on 29-of-59 shots (49%) overall, including 9-of-21 (42%) three-pointers, while the Fighting Irish made 22-of-51 shots (43%) and 4-of-17 (23%) treys.
After being bounced in its first tournament game by Xavier last year, Notre Dame has now been one-and-done in three of its last four trips to the NCAA Tournament going back to 2007. Since a 2003 trip to the Sweet 16, Notre Dame's only NCAA Tournament wins have come against George Mason (2008) and Akron (2011).
Iowa State, which became just the 20th current Big 12 opponent to beat Notre Dame in 69 all-time games, next faces No. 2 seed Ohio State Sunday in Dayton. The Buckeyes beat Iona 95-70 earlier in the day.