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Notre Dame Men’s Basketball: Fighting Irish Defeat High Point 70 to 61

It wasn’t super beautiful, but the Irish controlled the second half and will head to Vegas undefeated and looking to prove themselves

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

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball team defeated the High Point Panthers this evening, winning 70 to 61 at Purcell Pavilion in their last tune-up before the Maui Invitational next week.

ND was led on the evening by Paul Atkinson Jr., who scored 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting and pulled down 11 rebounds to obtain his first double-double in an Irish uniform. Additional key contributors included Nate Laszewski (10 points, 16 rebounds) and Dane Goodwin (12 points, 11 rebounds), while the guard trio of Prentiss Hubb, Cormac Ryan, and Trey Wertz combined for 25 points, 10 assists, and 8 rebounds but also shot a combined 9-for-32 from the field.

On the High Point side, guard John-Michael Wright — considered one of the best scorers in the country — dropped in 17 points and grabbed 4 rebounds. Jaden House (15 points, 4 rebounds) and Zach Austin (9 points, 4 rebounds) also had nice games for the Panthers.

High Point led 33-32 at halftime after an abysmal first half of shooting for the Irish, who made just 3-of-20 from long range and shot 28% overall in the half. The Panthers, meanwhile, shot 57% from deep in the first and were driven to that lead at intermission by 24 combined points from John-Michael Wright and Jaden House.

In the second half, the Irish used a 13-0 run to take a 47-36 lead just 6 minutes into the period. From there, ND managed to keep the Panthers at arm’s length the rest of the way, as Paul Atkinson Jr. turned it up a notch down low, Goodwin and Laszewski chipped in, and Cormac Ryan began to make a few plays from the perimeter.

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

Notre Dame also cranked their defensive effort up a notch, causing High Point’s shooting percentages to fall back down to earth. The Irish, meanwhile, did not improve their outside shooting much in the second half, finishing a scary-bad 6-for-31 from deep. Luckily, the focus on attacking the hoop with Atkinson, Goodwin, and Laszewski made the difference down the stretch.

With the win, the Irish improve to 2-0 here in the early going of the 2021-2022 season, while High Point now stands at 1-2.

Notre Dame will be back in action again late on Monday night, when they will take on the St. Mary’s Gaels in their first game of the 2021 Maui Invitational (in Las Vegas) at 11:30PM ET.