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Notre Dame Basketball

Ryan Leads Notre Dame to Blowout Win Over No. 20 Michigan State, 70-52

November 30, 2022
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Cormac Ryan came out on fire against No. 20 Michigan State on Wednesday. He scored 20 of his 23 points in the first half, leading Notre Dame to a 70-52 victory. 

It’s the 11th straight Fighting Irish home win, which includes a 6-0 start at Purcell Pavilion in 2022-23.

Notre Dame was eager for a victory coming off of the program’s lone loss of the season last Friday to St. Bonaventure, 63-51.

“Coach [Mike Brey] talks about bounce-back mode, and we showed it a lot of that last year, that resilience coming off a loss,” Ryan said. “It refocused us. It was a little bit of a wake-up call. Obviously, tonight was a big game, the ACC/ Big Ten challenge. It's the kind of game you want to play and play well in.”

Notre Dame (6-1) jumped out to a 23-point lead over Michigan State (5-3) in the first half and never looked back. The Spartans never got within 14 points. It was the best defensive performance by the Irish this season, holding Michigan State to just 38.9% shooting from the field. 

Ryan entered the contest hitting 38.8% from the field and 21.7% from deep, but he could hardly miss on Wednesday. He played all 40 minutes and shot 8-11 from the field and 7-8 from beyond the arc but never forced anything. 

“In the second half, he didn't really have his stuff, so he just guarded,” Brey said. “He's our voice. He's our vibe. He's our emotion. He just sets a tone for us.”

In seven games, all five Notre Dame starters have already led the team in scoring with at least 20 points. 

JJ Starling struggled with his outside shot on Wednesday but scored 14 points to go along with four rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots. Dane Goodwin had 12 points. 

Forward Nate Laszewski scored nine points, his first game in single-digits all season, to go along with a team-high eight rebounds. 

Notre Dame now leads the all-time series with Michigan State, 61-37, but Wednesday’s victory marks the first Irish win over the Spartans since a 79-78 overtime victory at home in 2014. 

Izzo Said It

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo was impressed with what he saw from Notre Dame on Wednesday evening, especially after watching film on the Fighting Irish prior to the game.

“They played awfully well. Mike did a hell of a job,” Izzo said. “They were way better defensively. If I were Mike, I'd be mad at those first [six] games personally. I mean, I'd be really mad about those first [six] games, but maybe did it to trick me, and in that case, it worked. Because that was not at all the same team that I bet you guys covered the first six games.”

Highlight Play

Here are two of Ryan’s six threes against Michigan State.

 

Stat of the Night

The Irish shot 11-26 (42.3%) from downtown, which accounted for nearly half of their points. 

This comes one game after Notre Dame lost to St. Bonaventure by connecting on just two of 17 three-pointers, which includes missing all nine taken in the second half.

The lone blemish on Wednesday was Starling’s 0-7 performance from beyond the arc, many of which were forced or early in the shot clock. 

Big Picture

The then 5-1 Irish were left out of ESPN’s most recent 2023 NCAA Tournament Bracketology, in large part because none of their wins moved the needle for Joe Lunardi. 

Notre Dame desperately needed a boost to its resume prior to ACC play and got it with a dominant win over No. 20 Michigan State.

Now 6-1, the Irish are looking more like legitimate contenders for a repeat trip to the NCAA Tournament.

“I think our focus was really good,” Ryan said. “I think our energy was really good. It's a big game. Guys rise to the occasion, and we wanted it bad. We know how much this means for our tournament aspirations. It adds a little layer of want to.”

What’s Next?

Notre Dame stays home to host Syracuse (3-4) on Saturday at noon on ESPN2 for the team’s ACC opener.

“We enjoy it tonight,” Ryan said, “and then I think we get refocused because we got an ACC game coming up Saturday, and we're 0-0 in that league.”

Last season the Orange finished under .500 for the first time under legendary head coach Jim Boeheim, a tenure that began in 1976. It appears Syracuse is still down. The program has lost its last three games, including a 29-point defeat to No. 16 Illinois on Tuesday. 

Syracuse is the 80th-ranked team, according to Kenpom.

Guard Marcus Hammond will likely be in the lineup against the Orange, which will give the team a much-needed seven-man rotation.

“We need to get those seven moving together,” Brey said, “so hopefully we're looking more like that on Saturday.”

 
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