Staff and wire reports
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Mike Brey said he began thinking it was time to step down as Notre Dame coach on the plane ride home in March following the Irish’s NCAA Tournament run.
By Christmas, those thoughts turned serious, and come last week he was certain.
“From 2000 to 2017, we went to 12 NCAA Tournaments,” Brey said at a news conference Friday. “Since 2018 we’ve been to one. That’s how you’re measured, man. I felt we lost momentum. It was awesome to get us back last year, and that was an amazing experience to go and win two games in the NCAA Tournament, so as I looked at the big picture moving forward, I just think a new voice is needed.”
Notre Dame announced Thursday that the 63-year-old Brey would step down at the end of the season after winning a school-record 481 games and leading the program for a school-record 23 years.
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The team is 9-10 overall and 1-7 in the ACC. That’s why Brey thought it was necessary to announce now that this is his last season.
“I think it can be a distraction — speculation, and what’s going on, is he coming back, do they want him to?” Brey said. “I want our guys to focus and play, and my thought was why don’t we give some clarification to this thing right now and see if it helps our group and, quite frankly, help Notre Dame, that they can get into the process of getting advance notice on a search.”
Brey didn’t rule out coaching again but said he plans to take at least one year off.
Brey said it might have made sense to leave after last season, when the Irish went 24-11 and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after being a First Four entry. But he said he wanted to see through the six graduate students on his roster.
Loyola Marymount 68, No. 6 Gonzaga 67: Cam Shelton banked in a go-ahead runner with 13 seconds left and Loyola Marymount snapped No. 6 Gonzaga’s 75-game home winning streak Thursday night in Spokane, Wash.
The home streak for the Bulldogs (16-4, 5-1 West Coast Conference) tied Long Beach State (from 1968-74) for the eighth-longest in Division I history.
The Lions (14-7, 4-3) hadn’t won in Spokane since 1991 and had lost 25 straight overall to the Zags.
Gonzaga had won 93 straight games against unranked opponents. Gonzaga had won its previous 116 WCC games against teams other than Saint Mary’s and BYU.
The Bulldogs had won 11 straight overall since losing to Baylor on Dec. 2.
Michigan State 70, No. 23 Rutgers 57
A.J. Hoggard had 16 points and seven assists as the host Spartans (13-6, 5-3 Big Ten) beat Rutgers (13-6, 5-3) on Thursday night.
Mercer 69, VMI 61: Kamar Robertson and Jalyn McCreary scored 14 points apiece to lead the Bears (9-11, 2-5 SoCon) past the Keydets (5-15, 0-7) on Thursday night in Lexington.
Sean Conway had 18 points for VMI, which lost its ninth straight game. Tyler Houser had 14 points. Tony Felder Jr. had 12 points and four assists. Asher Woods had 11 rebounds.
Down 63-51 with 4:56 left, VMI went on a 9-0 run to cut the lead to 63-60 with 2:51 to go.
McCreary answered with a layup. Houser made one of two free throws to cut the lead to 65-61 with 1:14 left, but VMI never scored again.
FSU 77, UVa 68: Ta’Niya Latson and Sara Bejedi scored 15 points apiece to lead the Seminoles (17-4, 6-2 ACC) past the Cavaliers (14-5, 3-5) on Thursday night in Charlottesville.
Down 62-50 with 9:22 left, FSU went on an 18-0 run to grab a 68-62 lead with 3:40 to go. UVa shot just 12.5% from the field (2 of 16) in the final quarter.
Camryn Taylor had 18 points for UVa. Sam Brunelle and London Clarkson had 11 points apiece.
No. 17 UNC 61, No. 13 Duke 56: Deja Kelly scored 19 points as North Carolina (13-5, 4-3 ACC) held off Duke (16-2, 6-1) on Thursday night in Chapel Hill, N.C., ending the Blue Devils’ 11-game winning streak.