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Notre Dame Basketball

Notre Dame Rolls Louisville 72-50 Behind Shrewsberry's Sharpshooting

February 21, 2024
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Notre Dame (10-16, 5-10) entered Wednesday’s road game at Louisville (8-19, 3-13) on a two-game winning streak. The Irish will leave the Gateway to the South winners of three in a row following a dominating 72-50 win. 

Micah Shrewsberry grew up 10 minutes from Louisville, but it was the Braeden Shrewsberry show on this night. Shrewsberry scored a game-high 23 points as he hit 8-of-13 from the field and also pulled down four rebounds. 

Shrewsberry also used some Social Media motivation prior to the game as ACC teams coming off a bye week were 1-10 since the start of conference play. 

"Our guys were ready to play,” stated Notre Dame’s head coach. “I got after our guys on Monday. The last time we had a break, Miami came in and scored 37 points in the first half on us at home. We were sleepwalking. It wasn't going to happen again tonight. They were ready to go from the start."

The Irish led by 31-25 at halftime, but Shrewsberry scored 14 points in the final 20 minutes while his freshman classmate Markus Burton added 10 of his 16 points. 

“We’re playing with a lot of confidence,” stated the younger Shrewsberry. “We’re getting more comfortable. We lost seven or eight in a row, but we kept showing up every day and working hard. We knew the tide was going to turn eventually.” 

Entering the game, Notre Dame and Louisville were the two worst three-point shooting teams in the ACC, which meant the three-ball was likely going to have a significant impact on the outcome of the game. The Irish finished 12-for-27 while Louisville went just 4-for-17. 

Shrewsberry believed his team could take advantage of the three-ball going into the game, but they had to be open shots. Notre Dame executed in the half court, got open looks and hit shots. 

“I think one of the numbers I looked at was uncontested threes vs. contested threes,” Shrewsberry explained. “Louisville does a great job when they contest threes. The numbers are really low for their opponents, but when they are uncontested, it’s pretty high. We thought we could when you watched the previous games. You think there is a chance to get some open threes, but you still have to work to get them. I think we worked to get them. We weren’t just coming down and shooting the first three we could get.” 

Notre Dame also won the turnover battle 11-7 and turned that into an 11-1 advantage in points scored off turnovers. Louisville also lost on the boards 42-37 and the Irish bench outscored the Cardinals 18-3. 

Junior JR Konieczny hit all four of his shots as he finished the night with nine points and five boards. Freshman Carey Booth added nine points and seven rebounds. 

Skyy Clarke, who was playing with a broken rib, led Louisville with 18 points on 7-for-8 shooting. 

SEASONED SHREWSBERRY? 
Wednesday marked the ninth time Shrewsberry scored in double-figures since ACC play started and it was also his second game of 20 points or more. During that stretch, the freshman guard has made four or more threes seven times and the seven made against Louisville were a career-high. 

“I think just getting more comfortable as the season goes on,” Shrewsberry said following the game. I’ve played a lot of minutes and I feel that’s really helping me as the season goes on.” 

When did Notre Dame’s head coach know Shrewsberry was in for a big night? It started on Monday night. 

“I've watched so many games of his,” stated the elder Shrewsberry. “I always feel like he's hot. This dude works. We had practice Monday at 3pm. We start film at 3pm. We probably finished at 5pm. I was on the court getting shots up with my other son at probably 6pm and Braeden had eaten dinner and was back down there shooting again. This dude is maniacal in his work. 

"He was probably pretty pissed in how he played in the last home game. He didn't shoot it well against Georgia Tech. The great Brad Stevens, I always quote him, 'The law of averages.' The dude goes 1-for-8 and he ain't going 1-for-8 two games in a row, so he has a lot of makes coming." 

Shrewsberry grew up around the Boston Celtics from 2013-2019, and he was taking mental notes despite being a youngster, which has helped him maneuver the ups and downs of this season. 

“The work ethic,” Shrewsberry said of what he learned from watching the Celtics. “Seeing all those really good NBA players coming in every day and working hard. Keeping the same routine.” 

The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder is also quick to give credit to Burton for his success over the last two months. It hasn’t been easy as both players are growing up in the ACC, but it’s clear significant strides are being made in the Irish backcourt. 

“His passing has been really good the last couple of games,” said Shrewsberry. “He’s finding me all over the court. He’s just getting more comfortable too. Just slowing down and using his pace.” 

SECOND HALF GROWTH
Notre Dame has struggled in the second half in many games this season, but the Irish outscored the Cardinals 41-25 in the final 20 minutes on Wednesday. It started with defense as the Cardinals shot just 30 percent from the field and that translated to easy buckets for Notre Dame as the Irish finished shooting 46.9 percent in the half. 

The Irish jumped out to a 14-point lead halfway through the second half, but a mini 6-0 run by Louisville cut the lead to eight with 8:11 to play.

Following a timeout, Shrewsberry hit back-to-back threes in 31 seconds to put the game away. 

"Probably the tough moments we have gone through this whole season,” explained Shrewsberry. “We're learning from them. We're growing and getting better. It's built some resolve in our group. We had played well for a long time and we didn't want one mini-run to end that. 

"I didn't get the chance to say something before Markus started saying stuff in the huddle. Kebba (Njie) and Braeden started saying stuff about how we needed to come out of the huddle and play. I didn't need to say anything. That's how your team starts to grow." 

In fact, Louisville would score just five points in the final 8:11 as the Irish would close the game with an impressive 13-3 run.

UP NEXT
Notre Dame will stay on the road as they’ll head to Syracuse (17-10, 8-8) on Saturday for a noon tip on ESPN. 

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