The Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball team officially began their 2020-2021 season this evening in East Lansing, starting the year with a blowout loss that ended up looking much closer than it was, ultimately falling to the #13 Michigan State Spartans by a final score of 80 to 70.
The Irish were led by Prentiss Hubb, who scored 23 points and snagged 6 rebounds. Nate Laszewski had himself a nice little game as well with 12 points and 9 rebounds while shooting 4-of-6 from the field. Cormac Ryan (13 points) and Dane Goodwin (12 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists) chipped in for Mike Brey’s squad as well.
On the MSU side, the Spartans were led by Joey Hauser, who scored 10 points and added 16 rebounds to grab himself a nice little double-double. Other key guys for Michigan State included Aaron Henry (14 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks), Rocket Watts (13 points, 6 assists), and Josh Langford (8 points, 4 assists), as well as Marcus Bingham Jr., who had 4 blocked shots on the evening to go along with 7 points and 7 boards.
MSU shot 43% from the field and 32% from deep while out-rebounding the Irish 46 to 33 and swatting a ridiculous TWELVE of ND’s shots, displaying a striking size and length advantage over the hapless ND squad.
The Irish, meanwhile, shot 35% overall and 38% from deep, not able to do enough offensively or defensively to win despite winning the turnover battle 10 to 12.
The game started off pretty competitively, as the two teams traded leads and the Irish actually took a 26-22 lead on a Nate Laszewski bucket with 7:12 to go in the first half. However, from that point forward, it was all Spartans. Michigan State went on a 17-0 run to end the half, holding the Irish scoreless until the 18:05 mark of the second half, which ended a 26-0 run by the Spartans.
The rest of the game went about the same way, with MSU extending their lead and maintaining their dominance throughout, ultimately vanquishing the Irish by a final difference of 10 after a garbage-time comeback by ND against the Spartans bench.
The 0-1 Irish will try next for their first win of the season on December 2nd, hosting an 0-1 Western Michigan Broncos team that gave the Butler Bulldogs everything they could handle in a 66-62 loss on Thanksgiving Eve. Those two teams will tip off at 7 pm ET on Wednesday evening.
Following that game, the Irish will play their next one in a tough gauntlet of games to begin this season, hosting the #23 Ohio State Buckeyes on Tuesday, 12/8 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. ND would have faced the #12 Tennessee Volunteers on 12/4, but that game was cancelled due to the Volunteers’ current issues with COVID-19.