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Notre Dame Basketball

Starling, Laszewski lead Notre Dame past Bowling Green, 82-66

November 22, 2022

JJ Starling could hardly miss in Notre Dame’s 82-66 win over Bowling Green on Tuesday. 

The freshman guard led all scorers with a career-high 23 points on 10 of 11 shooting to go along with six rebounds, three assists and three steals. 

“My guys were setting great screens, and it was really easy out there,” Starling said.
They were getting me open — all credit to them. It really wasn't hard for me. We're playing the right way, so everything opened up.”

Starling’s lone miss came on a first-half drive. He was six of seven on shots in the paint and drilled all four of his outside shots, including a three-pointer. 

“You wouldn't have thought Starling was a freshman tonight,” coach Mike Brey said. “He’s felt how to play with those guys, and I think it's a big step for him because his offensive decisions were aggressive but not forced.”

The Irish shot 55 percent from the field and improved to 5-0.

Nate Laszweski remained hot. He scored 22 points while hitting four of six shots beyond the arc. He’s scored in double figures in all five of Notre Dame’s games.

Freshman forward Ven-Allen Lubin also posted a career-high on Tuesday, albeit after a rocky start. A few minutes after checking into the game, he hit the side of the backboard on a three-pointer, which made him one of seven on shots beyond the arc this season.

“Then all of a sudden, he went inside and started finger rolling,” Brey said. “It's funny how human nature is human nature, so hopefully we have him sold because he was really good around the basket.”

Ven-Allen made six of his final eight shots for 12 points while grabbing four rebounds and dishing out two assists. 

Turning Point

The Irish trailed 61-59 with 10:55 left in the second half, before going on a 23-3 run over the ensuing nine minutes. 

The Falcons were shooting 55 percent from the field prior to the Irish run but made just two of their final 16 shots — including an 8:16 scoreless stretch — to finish with a 43.3 field goal percentage. 

“Maybe we can defend for 40 minutes at some point,” Brey said, “but at least we defended in the second half.”

Highlight of the Night

JJ Starling scored 12 points on drives to the rim on Tuesday, but none were as smooth as this nifty up-and-under finish. 

Big Picture

Notre Dame needs both freshmen to be significant contributors this season, especially with such a thin bench at the moment. 

Both were stellar on Tuesday, combining for 35 points on 16 for 20 shooting. 

“Just to be able to take that many shots as freshmen, that just goes to show how much trust that that team has for us and how much trust we have for them,” Starling said. “That's about it. We just stepped up with confidence, knocked shots down and just kept being aggressive.”

If they can continue to mature quickly, the Irish could have a reliable seven-man rotation once guard Marcus Hammond returns from injury, where anyone on the court is capable of scoring in bunches.

“[The freshman] played like old guys tonight,” Brey said. “They saved us.”

Up Next

Notre Dame leaves Purcell Pavilion for the first time this season, heading east to play St. Bonaventure (3-2) at UBS Arena in Elmont, N.Y. on Friday at 4 p.m. on ESPN+.

Hammond, who has yet to play this season, is doubtful to return this week. 

“For Marcus, I just don't see it Friday,” Brey said. “We'll take another look over the weekend.”

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