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Notre Dame Basketball

Distance learning: Notre Dame uses torrid 3-point shooting for win

December 22, 2021

The best long-distance shooting performance of the season.

Near-perfection from the charity stripe.

And 21 assists on 27 made field goals.

All with just a six-man rotation and on the team’s third game in five days.

Still, it worked for Notre Dame Wednesday afternoon inside Purcell Pavilion, where the Fighting Irish outlasted Texas A&M Corpus Christi, 83-73.

“Since it’s our third game in five days, we probably came out a little sluggish,” said senior point guard Prentiss Hubb, who had 11 points, five assists and two rebounds in his most efficient outing of the season. “We probably didn’t expect these guys to come out firing like that.  …

“In huddles and stuff like that, we said we just gotta play for each other and play for another. Fight through it. At the end of the day, we’re still gonna have to come out and play. The team we played against didn’t care it was our third game in five days. Go out, accomplish our goal. Not try to make any excuses.”

Despite tired legs and the absence of Trey Wertz to a sprained ankle that left an already limited bench even more depth-challenged, the Fighting Irish (6-5) used late-half scoring bursts in both the first and second halves to quell the Islanders (10-3), who lost last week at Minnesota by eight points.

Hubb connected three of five 3-point shots, part of the Irish’s overall 16-for-29 effort from deep. Dane Goodwin connected on 5-for-7 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 21 points.

Notre Dame trailed by one, 58-57, with 11 minutes, 26 seconds left in the game before it closed out on a 26-16 run. The Irish had finished the first half on an 20-11 run for a 42-37 edge at the break.

“I’m proud of them; I was very worried about today,” Irish coach Mike Brey said. “Given that it’s coming quick, three (games) in five (days). They’re 10-3 and they’ve had a lot of new faces show up that are really good players and the guy (Steve Lutz) is a good young coach.

“I’m knowing by (Tuesday) morning that we’re probably not going to have Trey Wertz. We had to kind of muscle through it, and our old guys did.”

Trevian Tennyson led the Islanders with 18 points while San Antonio Brinson added a dozen off the bench on a perfect 5-for-5 effort from the floor.

Five of the Irish’s six players scored in double figures; freshman Blake Wesley had 15 points and a career-best nine assists in 36 minutes – also the most of his young season and most for Notre Dame aside from Goodwin’s 39 minutes.

Cormac Ryan added 14 points and a team-high seven rebounds while Paul Atkinson Jr. contributed 14 points, six boards and four assists.

“A lot of it is just heart and grit,” Ryan said of the team battling through to get the win, despite the short turnaround and bench-limitations. “As much as its tough, it’s also an advantage. We feel battle-tested.”

It’s now back to the Atlantic Coast Conference and Power 5 battles for the Irish, who will remain in South Bend this week as a team, gather at Brey’s house on Christmas and then travel to Pittsburgh Monday for Tuesday night’s league

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