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Notre Dame Basketball

Dane Goodwin Leads Notre Dame to 67-52 Exhibition Win

November 2, 2022

Notre Dame opened exhibition play on Wednesday night against Xavier University (Louisiana) and got a quality challenge as the Fighting Irish pulled away for a 67-52 win at Purcell Pavilion. 

The game was never in doubt, but XULA made things interesting a number of times in the second half as the Gold Rush played pesky defense and dominated the glass (46-33) for the entire night. 

“Both of these teams were great because they just dogged us,” Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said of XULA and DePaul, who the Irish scrimmaged last month. “Then they were up on the backboard and scrambling you. We’ll see a lot of that probably starting on Thursday.” 

Rebounding is an area Brey seems focused on as the 2022-23 Irish are a little smaller and lack experienced depth on the inside. 

XULA not only out-rebounded the Irish by 13, but the 22 offensive rebounds is somewhat concerning given the importance of competing on the glass in ACC play.

The positive news was Notre Dame’s guards rebounded as Dane Goodwin finished with 10 and Marcus Hammond tallied seven boards on the night. 

“We have to do it as a group,” explained Brey. “That was actually encouraging what Marcus (Hammond) did. He’s been rebounding in practice, but under those lights that he can rebound like that - we know Cormac (Ryan) can rebound and he has to help us. Dane can. Nate (Laszewski) ca and even Trey (Wertz) has rebounded better this year.

“I think it’s something JJ (Starling) doesn’t really concentrate on as a young player. When you’re not making shots and maybe your offense isn’t as smoother, there’s the great maturity and growth of can I go back and defense and defensive rebound to work my way into it.” 

Goodwin, who led all scorers with 21points, knows his rebounding will be counted on this season and he’s made an emphasis being more aggressive on both ends of the floor. 

“There’s definitely a mindset about it,” stated Goodwin. “You just have to be aggressive just like scoring. You have to be aggressive going to the boards, hitting guys or whatever it is to go and get that ball. 

“I think it definitely helps to have that mindset, but you actually have to go do it.” 

On the offensive end, Notre Dame struggled getting into a flow for most of the night as the Irish finished shooting a respectable 42 percent from the field, but just 27 percent from three-point range. Brey’s squad did hit 16-of-21 free throws on the night, but overall, Wednesday night will serve as a teaching moment. 

“There’s a lot to build off of, but I think we’re in a good spot,” Goodwin said. “We have a week until our first official game next Thursday. We’ll watch some film tomorrow and the next few days, address it and move forward. There’s definitely stuff to build off of and we have plenty of experience and young guys ready to contribute. I think we have a good squad.” 

Notre Dame’s defense was a bright spot as Brey mixed in zone defense at times as the Irish held XULA to just 33 percent shooting from the field and 12 percent (3-26) from deep. 

XULA head coach Alfred Williams was impressed with the Irish defense, but also knows his team will shoot better moving forward. 

“I’m not making excuses,” Williams said. “We have some guys who can knock some shots down, but we were out of our gym for about two months because we had floor damage, so we haven't really been able to shoot.” 

The exhibition game didn’t count, but it was an opportunity to get Starling and classmate Ven-Allen Lubin some run in a game environment. 

The 6-foot-8 Lubin played 15 minutes and went 2-for-2 from the field to finished with four points, one rebound, one assist and three blocks despite wearing a protective mask on his face following a practice injury. 

“He can block a shot,” Brey said. “He’s long. We gotta keep making him feel comfortable.” 

Starling’s debut in Purcell Pavilion was a little rocky as the freshman guard finished with two points on 1-for-7 shooting. Brey wasn’t down on his point guard as Starling took good shots, but that didn’t mean he didn’t challenge his freshman. 

“I talked to him a little bit throughout the game,” explained Brey. “Don’t be distracted on the defensive end because shots aren’t going in. That’s a theme I’ve said for 22 years with the gifted offensive guys I’ve had whether they're 18 or 22. 

“Again, I love he had open looks for the most part. I thought he took really good shots and he does pass it and find people. He’s able to get in there with strength like really nobody else that we have. We just want to keep growing him, helping him and teaching him.” 

Goodwin and the other fifth-year seniors will be counted on to bring Lubin and Starling up to speed, but they are familiar with it as they did the same with Blake Wesley a year ago. 

There will be some growing pains, but Wednesday night was a positive start in Goodwin’s eyes. 

“It’s different just coming into the year not really knowing what to expect,” stated Goodwin. “Marcus has played on this level before, but it’s a learning process. They’re all going to have their ups and downs, but they contributed today and had bright spots.” 

It’s also likely Brey puts the game on Goodwin’s back this year and Williams believes the veteran guard is more than ready for the task. 

“I’m going to tell you, Goodwin is as advertised,” said Williams. “He is tough as they come. 10 boards, man, and six of them offensive. Dude is tough as nails. Goodwin is just a man. He did what he needed to do on the boards.” 

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