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Irish exit, stage left

DAYTON, Ohio --And thud goes Notre Dame's season.

Once again the Irish, playing in their fourth straight NCAA Tournament, failed to get out of the first weekend, going down hard to Iowa State here tonight in their first tournament game, 76-58.

Fourteen turnovers in the first half and an 11-plus minute vow of near-silence -- the Irish had only two field goals in that stretch -- sent them to the locker room down 35-23 at the half.

And it got nothing but worse in the second half, as the Cyclones' patient interior passing game exploited the bigger Irish inside for layup after layup -- or, failing that, sent the shooter to the line.

The Cyclones (23-9) led by as many as 27 in the second half. The Irish finished with 18 turnovers, and were just 4-of-17 from the 3-point line.

Tom Knight and Jack Cooley led the Irish with 14 points each. Georges Niang had a game-high 19 for Iowa State, which made nine threes.

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