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Notre Dame Basketball

Goodwin's 27 paces Notre Dame in midweek-win

December 23, 2020
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Dane Goodwin was aggressive from the opening tip.

It's a bit startling to wonder where Notre Dame might have been Wednesday afternoon had its junior guard not been so assertive.

Led by Goodwin's career-high-tying 27 points, the Fighting Irish withstood pesky Bellarmine, 81-70, inside Purcell Pavilion.

“I think it was just a matter of me getting good looks early,” said Goodwin, an efficient eight-for-10 from the floor in 37 minutes. “I think I got fouled a couple times early, going to the line. Getting some easy buckets for sure helped down the stretch there.”

Prentiss Hubb added 18 for the Irish, who also got 16 from Nate Laszewski as the junior forward had a perfect day from the floor – seven-for-seven on field-goal attempts that included a pair of 3-pointers.

The game was a late add for Notre Dame (3-4), which had its scheduled ACC contest at Syracuse Tuesday night postponed due to COVID-19 protocols in the Orange program.

The Knights (1-3) visiting on short notice allowed the Irish to avoid an 11-day layoff between games.

“I think it definitely would have been tough going from those 11 days straight into a good team in Virginia,” Goodwin said. “I think it was great for us to get a home game and get back to it a little bit. I think these next couple of days of rest will be great for us and after Christmas, we've got to be ready because we've got a great team coming in.”

Goodwin exploded early, as the 6-foot-6, 200-pounder scored 12 of the Irish's first 20 points. Goodwin had 19 at the break, as he connected on five of six shots from the floor and buried all nine of his free throws. He finished a perfect 11-for-11 from the strip and also added seven assists for Notre Dame, which needed the extra game to avoid an 11-day gap between its loss to Purdue last Saturday in the Crossroads Classic and its next scheduled game, next Wednesday at home against Virginia – still the defending NCAA Champions after last season's March Madness was cancelled due to the pandemic.

“Dane Goodwin's playing as good as anybody in our league right now,” said Irish coach Mike Brey. “And you know what? I kind of almost expected here now in Year 3. …

“I think Dane has been pretty consistent at coming out of the gate confident offensively and scoring for us and just going for it. And he certainly, you know, has kind of the green light from me. I think his teammates give him confidence. They get it to him in the right spot and tell him to be aggressive.”

Bellarmine stayed patient against the Irish and hung around throughout, never trailing by more than 13, with crisp shooting from long range. The Knights connected on 11-for-20 3-pointers and scored one more point from deep, 33, than they did from the two-point range.

“I told our guys, when we scheduled them after we lost Syracuse, this will be just as hard a game as playing against Syracuse in the Carrier Dome and maybe harder because of the grinding offensive possessions they throw at you,” Brey said.

The game was a strong resurgence for the do-everything-guard Hubb after Hubb had been held scoreless in Notre Dame's loss against Purdue. His 18 points came on just 11 shots; he added four assists and zero turnovers.

Juwan Durham, who hobbled off the court with just one minute left in the game, had been an active presence off the bench and started the second half for the Irish. Durham finished six rebounds, six points, two blocks and a steal in just 24 minutes. Brey said he expected Durham would return for next week's game against Virginia.

“I thought Prentiss, great bounce-back game,” Brey said. “He just was steady, only took 11 shots, had 18. Made big threes. He quarterbacked us.

“Big for Juwan. When we play zone, it's a little conducive to him. I just liked that we had kind of had all seven of those guys in the rotation all made huge plays in a win.”

Notre Dame again stuck to its seven-man rotation, with Trey Wertz and Cormac Ryan joining Goodwin, Hubb and Laszewski as starters. Durham and Djogo provided a lift off the bench with a combined 11 points and 10 boards in 19 minutes.

“I think settling into that seven-man rotation, anybody on the team has to stay ready over the course of the year,” Goodwin said. “Different guys being in different situations. I think everybody for the most part has been ready. I think it's been great for Trey to kind of get used to us and Juwan in there, switching up the lineup, he's been great.

“I think our whole team knows we have to stay ready.”

Notre Dame commanded a 34-15 edge on the boards – and did not yield an offensive rebound to the Knights. It marked the first time since at least 1996, according to Notre Dame's research, that the Fighting Irish had not allowed a single offensive board.

The Irish will take a couple days off before resuming practice this weekend before welcoming in Virginia on Dec. 30.

“The getaway to Coach Brey's house for Christmas Eve dinner tomorrow,” Brey said. “We're going to do dinner at my house tomorrow and they have a tradition where they do a little gift exchange, 'Secret Santa' always funny. Some pretty cool gag gifts. And then a little bit of rest.”

 
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