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Notre Dame Basketball

Notre Dame gets hot from deep, buries Maryland Eastern Shore

November 22, 2023
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Braeden Shrewsberry led the Irish with 13 points — all coming in the first half — as Notre Dame downed Maryland Eastern Shore on Wednesday night, 75-55.

Fighting Irish (3-2) team are winners of two straight for the first time in coach Micah Shrewsberry’s tenure. 

“All of these are important,” Shrewsberry said. “I don't care who we play. Winning is hard; winning is hard. I thought we prepared well. I thought we followed the game plan well.”

Leading scorer Markus Burton put up just four points on 1-5 shooting in the first half but finished with 12 points to go along with a team-high six rebounds and five assists. 

Kebba Njie made his Notre Dame debut after missing the first four games with an injury to his right hand. He looked winded at times but still scored seven points and grabbed four boards off the bench in 15 minutes of action. 

“He's a good player. He's an unselfish player,” Shrewsberry said. “He'll keep getting his legs underneath him and doing what we need him to do. So It's a good start for him to get 15 minutes now. We just want to keep building it up, his wind more and more, so he can keep playing more time.”

He was the only member of the team to play under Shrewsberry last year at Penn State. 

The Hawks (2-3) entered Saturday as the nation’s 348th-rated team, per KenPom. Nevertheless, Notre Dame took care of business, emptying the bench with just under three minutes left to play. 

“There's a few people that are bye games like this right before Thanksgiving, right before Christmas,” Shrewsberry said. “I see people with a lot of Ls because they check out and they go on vacation before it's time to go on vacation. I thought (we) stayed here and played the game. Now they can go on vacation.”

Stat of the Night

Notre Dame made a season-high 13 threes on 27 attempts (48.1%), with nine different players hitting from beyond the arc. 

The offense also benefited from another season-high, with the Irish producing 18 assists.

“One of our keys to winning was (to) take great shots, and I thought we passed up average or okay shots for great shots,” Shrewsberry said. “Now you go 13 of 27 from three, but they're practice shots. They're shots that people work on.”

The Irish entered the contest as one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the nation, connecting on just 21 of 94 attempts in the first four games. Notre Dame’s 22.3% shooting from deep ranked 355th out of 363 teams.

That includes a 2-26 shooting performance last week against Auburn in an 83-59 loss.

“We've been taking tough threes,” Shrewsberry said. “We're not a two for 26 from the three team. But when you take those shots, that's what you get. This is a byproduct of that. So we need to be this kind of team. We're harder to guard when the ball is popping and moving and swinging.”

Highlight Reel

Braeden Shrewsberry hit four of six 3-point attempts, which includes this dagger from the corner. 

He made the free throw following the media timeout to complete the four-point play. 

Such a big night will give his numbers a nice jolt. He made 4 out of 24 (16.7%) 3-point attempts in the previous four games but feels Wednesday night’s performance is more indicative of what he’s capable of. 

“I don't know where my percentage is right now, but it's probably not very good,” Braeden Shrewsberry said. “I'm in the gym every day shooting on the gun.”

Big Picture

Notre Dame now boasts a winning record just before the team embarks on a difficult late-year schedule that includes the reigning co-ACC champs in No. 10 Miami and No. 24 Virginia, as well as a trip to No. 4 Marquette.

Such a gauntlet will likely test this inexperienced Fighting Irish squad.

Still, it helps that they’ve picked up a comfortable victory, even if Wednesday night’s win came against one of college basketball’s 15 worst teams. 

“With a young team, you still gotta grow,” Shrewsberry said. “You still got to learn when you get up big to play the right way the entire game, and don't let up in that. No matter what the score is, no matter who you're playing, you got to hold yourself to a standard, and you got to play that way, no matter who's in the game.”

Who’s Next?

The Fighting Irish will travel to South Carolina for the ACC/SEC Challenge on Tuesday, Nov. 28, at 7 p.m. ET.

The Gamecocks (5-0) are off to a hot start after going 18-13 in 2022-23. South Carolina currently ranks as the 61st overall team, per KenPom. Senior forward B.J. Mack leads South Carolina with 16.0 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. 

The Gamecocks will have had nine days off prior to next Tuesday’s game.

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