Sarr, Wake Forest deal blow to Irish NCAA hopes

Olivier Sarr scored 30 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to lead Wake Forest to an 84-73 victory over visiting Notre Dame, which had won seven of its previous nine games

Olivier Sarr won the battle of big men as Wake Forest dealt a significant blow to Notre Dame’s NCAA Tournament hopes on Saturday with an 84-73 victory over the visiting Fighting Irish.

The 7-foot Sarr scored 30 points, making 12 of 16 shots, and grabbed 17 rebounds for the Demon Deacons (13-15, 6-12 ACC), who pulled away with a 10-0 run down the stretch after squandering a 16-point, first-half lead.

John Mooney scored 24 points and grabbed 17 rebounds for the Irish (18-11, 9-9), who had won seven of their last nine in the conference.

Chaundee Brown added 15 points for the Deacons, including a 3-pointer that snapped an 11-0 Notre Dame run early in the second half, allowing the Irish to rally and eventually take the lead. Brandon Childress, playing in his final home game, had 14 points.

The Deacons made 7 of 15 3-point field-goal attempts.

Nate Laszewski came off the bench to score 15 points for the Irish.

Childress’ 3-pointer with 3:09 to go gave Wake a five-point lead, triggering the 10-0 run. A left-handed tap-in by Sarr with 2:21 left put the Deacons ahead 75-68 and in control for good.

Sarr made a variety of shots, including hooks, tips and turnarounds against the 6-9 Mooney and 6-11 Juwan Durham.

Wake raced out to a 39-23 lead and led 41-30 at halftime. The Irish cut the lead to 45-43 on Prentiss Hubb’s jumper after a steal.

But Brown responded with a 3-pointer from the left corner to stop the Irish run.

T.J. Gibbs gave the Irish their first lead since the opening minutes with a driving basket that made it 57-55 with 9:28 left. But Childress quickly responded with a 3-point shot.


Notre Dame: The loss may have been a dagger to the Irish’s late NCAA run. They likely will need an upset victory on Wednesday at No. 6 Florida State and a strong showing at the ACC Tournament to have any realistic hopes of making the 68-team field. Sarr exposed a weak Irish interior defense.

Wake Forest: The Deacons, who beat Duke in double overtime earlier in the week, claimed a second straight home victory over a hot opponent. The Deacons can ensure they won’t finish at the bottom of the ACC standings with a victory Tuesday at North Carolina. With Sarr playing at his best, the Deacons could be a dangerous opponent in what looms as a wide-open ACC Tournament.


Notre Dame: The Irish host No. 6 Florida State on Wednesday.

Wake Forest: The Deacons play at North Carolina on Tuesday.

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