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Notre Dame Basketball

Notre Dame Escapes Terriers at Home 81-75

December 7, 2022
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Notre Dame (7-2) looked like it was going to cruise to a Wednesday night victory at Purcell Pavilion as the Fighting Irish held a 36-29 lead at halftime over Boston University (5-5). 

The Terriers had shot just 31 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes and couldn’t beat any Notre Dame defender off the drive. Then the second half happened. 

Boston University shot 53 percent from the field and went 8-for-16 from three-point range. In fact, Notre Dame found itself trailed 40-38 less than three minutes into the second half before Cormac Ryan and Trey Wertz hit back-to-back-back threes. 

“I think it honestly came on the defensive end,” stated Ryan, who led all scorers with 21 points. “A lot of our points in that stretch came off of either a forced turnover or a really tough missed shot. I think that’s a theme for us. When we get stops, it usually helps our offense and I think that’s pretty true about most teams, but especially our team. We’re able to get out and run and get easy baskets in transition. 

“Being able to do that a couple times in a row, that’s how you build leads and build runs. That’s the way we have to play for 40 minutes.” 

Notre Dame was great from three as the Irish hit 9-of-17 three-point shots. Wertz, who scored 16 points, combined with Ryan to go 7-of-10 from deep. 

However, the Terriers shooting 12-for-29 from three-point range surprised Brey and once again it led to Notre Dame having to escape in the final minutes. 

“I didn’t shoot they would shoot that well from out there, but they certainly did,” Brey explained. “Some were tough shots and some were mistakes, but I thought we made plays to win the game and escape. Without Nate down the stretch, it was kind of neat to see Ven-Allen (Lubin) being a key guy and making some great plays for us.

“We were good with the ball. We only turned it over eight times. We handled game pressure pretty good.” 

The Irish offense also was stagnant at times and there’s no better example than how Notre Dame finished. Brey’s club was held the final 5:41 without a made field goal. Yet, Brey did take some positives away from the offense as they moved the ball well at times as the Irish finished with 13 assists on 26 field goals. 

“We’re getting better,” Brey said. “I still think we can pass it and see stuff better. At least we’re not turning it over. I’d rather take a shot clock violation than a live ball turnover. I know our tempo is kind of slow, but a live ball turnover, they’re coming down on you. At least a shot clock violation, we can set our defense. 

“For the most part, we’ve been great with the ball. We’re still trying to get some low post touches and that’s not just Ven-All (Lubin). Nate (Laszewski) got a couple. We have to flatten the D a little. Dane (Goodwin) gets in there. We’re still trying to figure out how to get it in there, when to get it in there and who to get it in there too.” 

Notre Dame did attack the rim when given the chance and were rewarded by going to the line. The Irish hit 20-for-24 free throws, including going 15-for-19 in the second half. Freshman guard JJ Starling went a perfect 6-for-6 from the line and finished with 16 points. 

“JJ can go get stuff off the dribble and I think Marcus (Hammond) can too,” stated Brey. “Trey needs a little ball screen, but he’s made great decisions with the ball. We don’t really have a guy that’s just going to rip all the time. At least we drive and get fouled. 

“When we get to the bonus, a drive is a good thing because chances are we’re going to get hand checked and we make our free throws.” 

NATE UPDATE 
Fifth-year senior Nate Laszewski left the game in the second half after getting poked in the eye. The 6-foot-10 forward was down on the floor for a few minutes before heading to the locker room. 

The good news is Brey doesn’t expect his leading scorer to miss any time. 

“He got poked in the eye,” Brey explained. “What happens is they dilate it right away, so there is no way he’s coming back in. They’ll look at him tonight. We feel it’s not anything serious. They’re going to have an eye guy look at him tonight. I’m feeling pretty optimistic he’ll play on Sunday. It wasn’t intentional. The guy was going for the ball and caught him right in it.”

UP NEXT
Notre Dame will host a Marquette (7-3) on Sunday afternoon for a 4:00 pm ET tip. Marquette beat nationally ranked Baylor 96-70 to end November and caught the attention of many around the country as Shaka Smart looks to have the Golden Eagles trending in the right direction. 

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Notre Dame Escapes Terriers at Home 81-75

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