Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Basketball

Irish 6-pack: Notre Dame Wins 6th In A Row

November 26, 2019

It took Fairleigh Dickinson more than six minutes to score and almost exactly 10 minutes to get its first bucket --- after 18 consecutive misses.

Host Notre Dame needed less than 90 seconds to take the lead against the Knights Tuesday inside Purcell Pavilion.

Thus, the Fighting Irish never trailed.

Buoyed by a game-opening 13-0 run and an early 21-3 lead, Notre Dame captured its sixth-straight win --- longest streak since it began the 2017-18 season 6-0 – with a 91-66 triumph. The Knights missed their first 18 field-goal attempts.

“I must admit, last night I went to the Grotto and I made a major mistake,” said Knights coach Greg Herenda, before he added his punch-line, “I went without cash.”

The Fighting Irish (6-1) eventually led by 27 points in the second half on Chris Doherty’s emphatic dunk, saw TJ Gibbs surpass 300 career assists and John Mooney notch his fifth-straight double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds in the comfortable win.

“We had six games, those were six in 17 days, and we had a little bit of everything happen and we had game pressure on us,” said Irish coach Mike Brey. “To get them and feel a little bit better about playing on this floor is a start for this group.”

Gibbs initiated the onslaught with back-to-back 3s to open the game’s scoring, banking in the latter bucket from distance, and Rex Pflueger, who closed with 10 points for his third game this season in double figures, hit a pull-up 3-pointer for an 11-0 lead.

“Honestly, I feel that’s honestly kind of been my game, doing a little bit of everything,” Pflueger said. “And my knee is getting progressively healthier as the games go along and I’m learning how to use my body again.

“Who knows? That is definitely a mark I’m looking for, not just because it’s a great stat but because I think when I do it I can help my team win.”

Pflueger’s lob to Juwan Durham for an easy dunk capped the 13-0 run in less than the game’s opening five minutes. Like Mooney, Durham punished Fairleigh Dickinson with a double-double, his second in three games after finishing with 12 points and 11 boards in 23 minutes.

The Knights (1-5), losers of five in a row after an NCAA Tournament appearance last season, never trailed by fewer than nine points the remainder of the contest. Xzavier Malone-Key led all scorers with 17 points.

Notre Dame then continued to receive strong early-season production from its bench, most notably sophomores Dane Goodwin and Nate Laszewski. The duo combined for 31 of the Irish’s 38 bench points --- only nine points fewer than the Knights’ entire starting lineup.

“It’s phenomenal having these guys, the step that they’ve made from last year is just incredible,” Pflueger said of the bench players. “I’m just so proud of them. You could see it in their eyes and in their bodies; they’ve really matured the way they’re talking in huddles and getting out there, trying to initiate certain offensive plays and just being very vocal, which I’m very proud of.”

The Fighting Irish play their second road game and second contest away from home against a top-10 opponent when they visit No. 5 Maryland on December 4 as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

“We’re playing the right way, and hopefully we can get a little confidence because we’re certainly going to need it next week with the two we have,” said Brey, alluding to the trip to College Park, Md., and a home clash December 7 against Boston College.

Irish Sports Daily
Final Box Score 


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