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Notre Dame Tops Clemson: What We Learned

The Irish improved to 3-0 in ACC play with a home win over Clemson

NCAA Basketball: Clemson at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish found themselves in another close game on Saturday afternoon. For the third straight game, the Irish won with clutch shots down the stretch. Now with a 3-0 record in the ACC, the Irish are tied with Florida State for first place in the league. Here is what we learned from Notre Dame’s 75-70 win over the Clemson Tigers.

VJ Beachem Is Still The Most Lethal Offensive Player

I’m not sure if this was ever in question, at least it never was to me. Bonzie Colson, Matt Farrell, and Steve Vasturia are all very good players. They can all get going and carry the Irish to victory. But I would bet that when opposing teams scout Notre Dame and dvelop a game plan, that VJ Beachem is the player that concerns other coaches the most. He had been in a bad shooting slump and seemed to be losing his confidence after taking only three shots and scoring two points against Louisville. Yesterday he exploded for 22 points which included six 3-pointers. This is a great sign going forward. If VJ Beachem plays as Notre Dame’s best player then they will be a much better basketball team.

3-Point Shooting Can Win A Game For The Irish

All basketball experts say that good basketball teams do more than just shoot 3-pointers. Well, yesterday was a day that Notre Dame lived and died by the three. They ended up being 15 for 32 from 3-point land. Clemson was only 7 for 18 from deep. Early in the game while the Irish offense was struggling, the 3-point shooting kept them in the game. The first six made field goals were all from behind the arc. In fact, the first made shot from inside the arc didn’t come until Steve Vasturia made a driving layup at the 6:05 mark in the first half. While it is not the most reliable strategy to win a game in the ACC, Notre Dame proved that once in a while their long range shooting can save them.

NCAA Basketball: Clemson at Notre Dame
Matt Farrell drilling a 3-point shot to clinch the victory.
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

At 14-2 overall and 3-0 in league play, Notre Dame is in a great position going forward. I’m not sure any experts believed Notre Dame would be in this spot at this time in the season. The next three games will be telling for the rest of league play. Notre Dame goes on the road to play Miami Fl., Virginia Tech, and Florida State. Winning two of these three games would be seen as a positive road trip and still leave Notre Dame somewhere near the top of the ACC.