The Notre Dame Men’s Basketball (4-5) team faced the Western Michigan Broncos (4-6) tonight at Purcell Pavilion. The Fighting Irish were looking to rebound after their 64-56 loss to Indiana over the weekend, and the Broncos came into the game looking to build on their 67-56 win over Aquinas. The meeting between Notre Dame and Western Michigan tonight was the 29th matchup between the two teams, and the first time they’ve met since 2016 (they were scheduled to play twice last year but both meetings were cancelled due to COVID-19). The series between the two teams dates back to 1916 and before the 2016 meeting, the two programs had not met for close to 25 years (March of 1992 through December of 2016). How did the Irish fare tonight? Let’s take a look.
Notre Dame opened up the game with a three-point shot by Blake Wesley, a layup by Nate Laszewski, and a three-point bucket by Dane Goodwin to be up 8-0 with 18:05 on the clock. The Broncos finally got points on the board on a two-point jumper by Lamar Norman Jr. with 17:28 on the clock. It didn’t take Western Michigan long to pick up some steam, though, and with just over 15 minutes remaining in the half they cut the Irish lead to four (12-8).
The Irish didn’t let this deter them, and they kept running and gunning. After a Paul Atkinson Jr layup, Laszewski three pointer, and Wesley jumper, the Irish were up by 11, 19-8. And as the first half kept progressing, the threes kept falling, with Prentiss Hubb sinking two three-point buckets in a row, one at 12:08 on the clock, and one at 10:23 on the clock to bring the Irish lead to 27-13. The Irish were 5-of-8 from deep.
Going into the 8:44 media timeout, the Irish were up 27-17.
After the media timeout the Broncos hit two jumpers, both by Mileek McMillan, but Goodwin answered with a three-point shot, followed by a Wesley jumper. Notre Dame up by 11, 32-21 with 6:23 in the half. These two baskets turned into an 11-0 Irish run including two dunks by Atkinson Jr and another dunk by Wesley. 38-21 Notre Dame with 3:22 left in the half.
As the clock ran out on the half, Notre Dame finished with a 17-2 run, including a three-point bucket by Hubb. The score at the half was 44-23.
First half statistics:
Notre Dame - 52% (16-of-31)
Western Michigan - 32% (10-of-31)
Notre Dame - 44% (7-of-16)
Western Michigan - 17% (2-of-12)
Notre Dame - 83% (5-of-6)
Western Michigan - 50% (1-of-2)
Atkinson: 13 points
Wesley: 9 points
Hubb: 9 points
Goodwin: 8 points
Laszewski: 5 points
Notre Dame got points on the board first in the second half with a three-point shot by Goodwin followed by yet another three by Laszewski. 50-25 Notre Dame. The Broncos finally got on the board with 17:07 on the clock, on a layup by Norman Jr, followed by a three-point shot by Smith. The Fighting Irish execution was pretty much flawless tonight.
And the threes just kept falling, with Goodwin sinking another one with 12:59 on the clock, which made 18 points for him on the night! Followed by another three by Cormac Ryan. Notre Dame up 63-34 with just under ten minutes left on the clock.
Western Michigan, on the other hand, couldn’t make hardly any threes, having missed 12 of their last 13 three-point attempts. The Irish, however, kept sinking the threes, with Wesley sinking the next three-pointer with 8:14 on the clock, and the Irish lead increased to 69-39.
Then, with 3:05, you guessed it, another three-point shot by Cormac Ryan, which is the 14th three-point shot of the night. This game sure was fun to watch. Irish up, 82-49.
At the four minute mark, Brey started to empty the bench and give some of the young guys some playing time (JR Konieczny, Trey Wertz, Matt Zona, Tony Sanders and Elijah Morgan) and that’s how the game ended.
Final Score, Notre Dame 85 - Western Michigan 52
End of game statistics:
Notre Dame - 52% (29-of-56)
Western Michigan - 36% (21-of-59)
Notre Dame - 45% (14-of-31)
Western Michigan - 24% (6-of-25)
Notre Dame - 87% (13-of-15)
Western Michigan - 40% (4-of-10)
Goodwin: 18 points
Atkinson: 17 points
Wesley: 15 points
Ryan: 13 points
Hubb: 9 points
Notre Dame’s next game is Wednesday, December 22nd, against Texas A&M-CC at Purcell Pavilion.
Cheers & GO IRISH!