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Notre Dame Basketball

Game Thread | Western Michigan at Notre Dame

December 20, 2021
3,057

Western Michigan (4-6) at Notre Dame (4-5)


Date: Dec. 20th

Time: 8:00 PM ET 

Where: Purcell Pavilion | Notre Dame, Ind. 

TV: ACC Network | Jay Alter and Malcolm Huckaby 

Line: Notre Dame -21.0

O/U: 137.5


Quick Facts 

- Notre Dame leads the all-time series 20-8. 

- Mike Brey and Clayton Bates will be facing off for the first time. 

- Brey holds a record of 9-3 against MAC programs. 

- The Irish have won four straight games at Purcell Pavilion. 

- Dane Goodwin has scored in double-figures in nine straight games and is five points away from becoming the 66th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points. 

- Senior Trey Wertz is second on the team with 24 assists and has recorded at least one assist in
eight of nine games this season.


PROJECTED STARTERS

Notre Dame

Name Points Rebounds Assists
Blake Wesley 13.1 2.7 1.2
Cormac Ryan 7.8 4.0 2.2
Dane Goodwin 14.3 5.6 0.7
Nate Laszewski 7.8 7.8 0.8
Paul Atkinson Jr. 11.0 6.6 1.2

Western Michigan  

Name Points Rebounds Assists
Adrian Martin 5.1 1.6 2.1
Lamar Norman Jr. 18.4 2.2 1.8
Mack Smith 11.0 4.8 1.7
Danny Kolp 2.5 1.0 0.0
Markeese Hastings 8.7 6.9 1.2

 

Preview

Category Western Michigan Notre Dame
Points  67.8 67.2
Opponent Points 78.6 65.9
FG% 43.6% 43.1%
Rebounds  33.8 34.7
Assists  11.2 11.8
Blocks 2.1 2.2
Steals 5.8 5.2

Monday night will be all about Notre Dame following Saturday's disappointing loss to Indiana. Mike Brey’s program needs to win the game, but also show signs of growth against an inferior Western Michigan team. 

It starts on the offensive end for the Irish as they have failed to score more than 70 points in four of the last five games. 

“It's one of those things where I don't want to talk to them too much about it because they're thinking enough,” Brey said of the shooting struggles. “Right now they're thinking enough. But, God, some of those looks we got after some movement, those are the ones you got to get to steal this one and we haven't been able to get them enough, not only in this game, but all year-to-date.

“I do think the guys that are not shooting well are better shooters and I bank on the law of averages here kicking in at some point.”

Senior Dane Goodwin has done his part this year as he's scored in double figures in every game and is just five points away from hitting 1,000 points in his Notre Dame career. Goodwin leads the Irish in scoring at 14.3 points per game and he needs help from his classmates. 

Nate Laszewski and Cormac Ryan enter Monday's game averaging 7.8 points a night, which isn't good for the Irish. Both arrived at Notre Dame known for their scoring and it just hasn’t happened this year. Laszewski is shooting 42.4 percent from the floor after shooting 58.9 percent a year ago. The Jupiter (Fla.) native is also struggling from three as he's hitting just 35.1 percent after shooting 43.4 percent last year. 

Ryan is shooting 36.8 percent from the field and just 25.0 percent from three. 

To complicate things even more, point guard Prentiss Hubb has been almost non-existent this year as he’s averaging just 6.4 points and 2.8 assists per game. For comparison, Hubb averaged 14.6 points and 5.8 assists a night last year. 

Freshman Blake Wesley has been the bright spot for Notre Dame as he's been a spark on offense averaging 13.1 points a game and taking over the starting role for Hubb. Wesley has gone through his growing pains and there will be more, but Notre Dame and Brey are fine with it as he's growing. 

“I'm really pleased with his maturity and demeanor,” said Brey. “He does make some plays for us that nobody else can make, and where I'm still learning on how to use him more offensively to make those plays, but I am really pleased with his presence for a guy who we're asking a lot of.”

It hasn't been all negative as Notre Dame's defense is much improved this year and it's something they've relied on, which is refreshing after last year's lackluster defensive effort. That said, Notre Dame needs to find a rhythm on offense and it starts tonight. 

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Game Thread | Western Michigan at Notre Dame

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