Georgetown and Notre Dame had uncharacteristic performances last week, though each still are in position to earn a coveted double bye into the Big East tournament quarterfinals.
The 20th-ranked Fighting Irish seek their fourth straight win over the No. 9 Hoyas as they meet Monday night in Washington.
Notre Dame (20-9, 12-4) had its school-record nine-game conference winning streak snapped with a 61-58 loss at St. John’s on Saturday, ending a run that began with a 67-58 upset of then-No. 1 Syracuse on Jan. 21.
The Irish shot 38.9 percent during their win streak – the highest percentage in the Big East in that span – but hit only 4 of 31 from long range versus the Red Storm.
Notre Dame hadn’t made less than five 3s since a 69-58 loss to then-No. 18 Indiana on Dec. 17.
“The law of averages catches up with you a little bit,” coach Mike Brey said. “We have stolen some wins, banking down 3s on the road, and we really couldn’t today.”
Scott Martin scored 18 points but missed all four of his 3-point attempts after hitting 3 of 4 in Wednesday’s win over West Virginia. Jack Cooley also scored 18 points.
“Our lack of 3-point shooting really hurt,” Martin said. “I think that was the big problem for us. They frustrated us, made us take them deeper than we wanted to.”
The Irish are one game back of second-place Marquette and one ahead of Georgetown in the battle for the final two double byes in the conference tournament. No. 2 Syracuse has already won the Big East title outright and is the top seed, while the Golden Eagles claimed the second double bye by virtue of South Florida’s win over Cincinnati on Sunday.
The Hoyas (21-6, 11-5) can break a fourth-place tie with the Bulls and pull even with the Fighting Irish for third with a victory heading into their regular-season finale at Marquette on March 3. The Irish finish against Providence the day before.
Georgetown bounced back from a 73-55 loss at Seton Hall on Tuesday to beat Villanova 67-46 on Saturday behind 15 points each from Otto Porter and Jason Clark.
Coach John Thompson III was pleased his team was able to get back on track.
“Every possession is important, you can have a bad series in the first half that will affect if you win,” Thompson said. “… The winning and losing is in the details. This group for the most part has been good at the details and when they haven’t we look like we did (against Seton Hall).
Thompson started Porter in favor of Markel Starks for an undisclosed reason, saying Starks – who didn’t play at all – was healthy but he decided to go with Porter instead.
Starks had started the 25 games he had been healthy, sitting out only a win at DePaul on Jan. 17 with a stomach virus. Thompson refused to elaborate on the benching and wouldn’t commit to playing Starks against Notre Dame.
Georgetown has lost three straight in the series and hasn’t beaten the Irish since an 84-65 home win Jan. 19, 2008, dropping the last two by 14 points each.
Notre Dame has shot 39.0 percent from 3-point range in those three matchups and hit 7 of 16 attempts in a 69-55 victory in the most recent meeting Dec. 29, 2010.
The Irish haven’t won four straight over the Hoyas since Feb. 9, 2002-March 4, 2004.