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Notre Dame Basketball

Notre Dame Rolls 96-62 in Exhibition Win Over Hanover College

November 1, 2023
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Defense. Defense. Defense. 

Micah Shrewsberry drilled the importance of defense into his team since he took the job in the spring and it was apparent the Irish took it to heart in the 96-62 exhibition win over Hanover College on Wednesday night. 

Notre Dame did start a little slow as it was the first time this group of players had been on the court together in a game setting. In fact, the Irish found themselves trailing 15-11 with 13:23 remaining in the first half.

Then came the Notre Dame defense. 

The Irish went on a 24-0 run over the next six minutes to take a commanding 35-15 lead with 6:31 left on the first half clock. Hanover College would shoot 34 percent from the field and just 15 percent from deep in the opening 20 minutes, while also committing six turnovers that turned into a commanding 55-27 halftime lead for Notre Dame. 

“All I wanted to see was our guys play hard and compete just like they do every day in practice,” stated Shrewsberry following the win. “That’s it. I wanted the people to come here and watch us and see us compete like that and play like that and know it’s going to be like that every single game. 

“We might not come out on top. We might not play pretty basketball, but we’re going to fight and compete every single game. I thought those guys from 1-16 poured their hearts out when they got in that game.” 

Notre Dame’s effort level on both ends of the floor was noticeable and that’s exactly what Shrewsberry wanted to see. 

Freshman Markus Burton led the Irish with 18 points, while classmates Braeden Shrewsberry and Logan Imes added 14 each. JR Konieczny and Matt Zona added 12 points apiece and shot a combined 10-for-16 from the field. 

The Irish also out-rebounded Hanover College 44-37 and scored 50 points in the paint, which came from attacking off the dribble, but also aggressive cutting - something that had been missing from the Notre Dame program for years. 

SECOND HALF
The dominating first half was a welcome sight to those who have watched Notre Dame basketball through the years, but the second half wasn’t up to Shrewberry’s expectations for the program. Notre Dame won the second half 41-35, but the Irish shot just 27 percent from the floor and turned the ball over seven times. 

Hanover College hit six threes over the final two minutes and held their own on the boards as both teams pulled down 20 rebounds in the second half. 

“There’s some growth and maturity in that,” Shrewsberry said of final 20 minutes. “You don’t play to score. You play the same exact way no matter who is on the court. That’s Notre Dame basketball. No matter what the score is, who the opponent is, you play the exact same way for 40 minutes. I didn’t think we did that tonight. I thought we checked out to start the second half and you could see it.” 

Now, Shrewsberry admitted the Irish took better of the ball tonight than last week’s ‘secret scrimmage’ against Xavier as the Irish finished with 10 turnovers. But, it will also continue to be a point of emphasis in practice this week. 

“We had four (turnovers) in the first four minutes,” Shrewsberry said of the second half. “I knew and I let them know too. There’s no moment that’s going to go by. I’m not coaching the score. I want us to be at our best at the end of the season. That doesn’t mean we can’t be good now.”

TEMPO
Notre Dame didn’t fly up and down the court on Wednesday to score 96 points as just 11 points came on fastbreaks. What Notre Dame did do was dominate the paint with hard cuts and finishing at the rim. 

The Irish finished 20-of-30 on layup opportunities, which led to those 50 points scored in the paint and Shrewsberry expects to play fast in the halfcourt moving forward. 

“I want to play with great pace,” stated Shrewsberry. “That doesn’t mean we’re playing at a breakneck speed. We’re not and we weren’t North Carolina. We weren’t getting the ball out of the net and flying down the court. 

“We play with great pace in the halfcourt. Our guys are cutting with speed in the halfcourt, which is opening up some things and taking some guys with them. Now, it opens up a drive, opens up a post up or opens up a three. We have to play with that pace in the halfcourt.” 

FRESHMEN
Now, it wasn’t all defense as freshman guard Markus Burton went off during the stretch as he scored 12 points during the stretch, which included a three-pointer, layups and a nice midrange jumper he was famous for during his prep career. 

Not to be outdone, Shrewsberry would hit four threes in the first half, including back-to-back treys to push the Irish lead to 48-21. Burton and Shrewsberry would lead the Irish with 14 points in the opening half as Notre Dame shot 59 percent from the floor, which included 14 points from the bench. 

“Honestly, our coaches are always telling us to be confident,” said Burton. “Basketball is basketball. If you can put the basketball in the goal, that’s all it takes. We all work extremely hard every single day, so when we come out, we know what we’re capable of doing.” 

Having three freshmen lead the team in scoring probably wasn’t on the bingo card for most folks heading into Wednesday, but it didn’t surprise their head coach. 

In fact, Shrewsberry believes they have taken on his mentality of playing with a big chip on their shoulder, which is fine if all three combine to shoot 17-for-26 from the field and 7-for-12 from three-point range moving forward. 

“Those guys are just confident,” explained Shrewsberry They’ve got a belief in themselves. They fit me. We thrive on being the underdog. We thrive on being counted out. You look at the rankings, no one thought Braeden was any good. Nobody thought Markus was any good. No one thought Logan was any good. 

“Those guys come out every single day to prove how good they are. They know how much work they put in. I see what they do on a daily basis. They work their asses off because they want to be good.”

And despite it just being an exhibition, the game was vital for the freshmen, but also the transfer into the program as it was the first time most of the roster had experienced a crowd inside Purcell Pavilion. 

“It feels good coming out,” said the younger Shrewsberry. “It doesn’t matter if it was Hanover or Duke. Just playing in our own arena - that was the first time I’ve ever been to a game here. Seeing the atmosphere and getting comfortable was really good.”  

UP NEXT: Notre Dame will officially open the 2023-24 campaign on November th as the Irish will host Niagara. Tip is set for 7:00 PM on ACC Network. 

FINAL STATS

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Notre Dame Rolls 96-62 in Exhibition Win Over Hanover College

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