Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Basketball

Goodwin Raising Game Could Be Significant For Irish

January 20, 2019

Notre Dame is close to getting over the hump as head coach Mike Brey manages a depleted roster full of inexperience. Saturday was another example of the Irish showing potential, but also its youth. 

Junior forward John Mooney cut the NC State lead to 62-61 with just over eight minutes remaining in the game, however, the Irish wouldn’t score for over four minutes. Notre Dame’s defense was good during the scoring drought as the Wolfpack could only push the lead to 67-61. 

The Irish would then hit just two of its last nine shots to end the game and eventually led to the 77-73 loss at Purcell Pavilion. 

“You have to tip your hat to NC State,” Mooney said. “They’re a great team. We were flowing pretty well on offense throughout the game. It comes down to game situations and that’s been the theme of the year. We have to be better in that regard. We have a lot of ball to play and more opportunities to show that.” 

Brey was visibly frustrated for the first time all season as the Irish simply can’t hit open shots. The Irish shot a respectable 18-for-24 (75%)  from the free throw line, but in a four-point game, Notre Dame needs to hit freebies late in the game. 

“We have to have guys making winning plays,” stated Mooney. “It starts with me and I’m not doing it. Someone has to step up. We’re a confident group and I thought we battled. They were a Top 25 team for a reason and we were right there. We have to come back tomorrow and work hard to get one in Atlanta.” 

Mooney has done his part and probably more in the last two losses. On Tuesday, the Orlando native scored 16 points and pulled down 19 rebounds at North Carolina and then on Saturday, Mooney put up 19 points with 16 rebounds. 

Freshman guard Dane Goodwin did his best to try to help Mooney as he scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half on Saturday. 

“He stepped up big-time,” Mooney said. “Dane Goodwin is a very good player. He showed that and stepped up. He hit two threes and had some good takes. It was a matter of time before he broke out. I think this is going to be a spark for him. He’s a hard worker and we’re going to need him moving forward.” 

Goodwin has been passive at times this season as he finds his way, but Saturday’s showing was a significant positive for the Irish. Brey has stated publicly he wants Goodwin to be more aggressive and going 7-for-10 from the field is a step in the right direction. 

“In the second half, I really bought into what Coach was saying,” explained Goodwin. “I have to be more aggressive with the way we play now with keys guys like Rex (Pflueger) gone. I have to be the guy to step up and take these shots. I think our team needed a spark in the second half. To get a couple to fall down was good to see.” 

The 6-foot-6, 203-pounder was also quick to give his teammates credit. 

“It starts with the guys on the team,” said Goodwin. “It’s a matter of finding the right guy in the right spot. I tried to be a little more aggressive to find my spots. I got one to fall and that started it.” 

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