The Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball team won another one Sunday evening, defeating the Miami Hurricanes 71 to 61 at Purcell Pavilion. The Irish have now won 6 of their last 8 as they navigate a much softer portion of their schedule.
ND was led on the evening by Nikola Djogo, who scored 18 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and dished out 3 assists in easily his best game of the season. Nate Laszewski (14 points, 7 rebounds), Dane Goodwin (11 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists), and Juwan Durham (12 points, 6 rebounds) also turned in nice days, with Laszewski’s impact mostly felt in the second half due to foul trouble that relegated him to the bench for much of the first half.
The Irish shot 44% from the field but an abysmal 24% from deep (7-of-29), winning this game inside by attacking the hoop and out-rebounding Miami 45-42, grabbing 10 offensive rebounds in the process.
The Hurricanes, meanwhile, were paced in scoring by Isaiah Wong, who put up 17 points and 3 rebounds. Anthony Walker (14 points, 10 rebounds), Kameron McGusty (12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists), and Elijah Olaniyi (11 points, 7 rebounds) also were major factors in this one. Miami shot 32% from the field, 23% from long range, and won the turnover battle 5 to 10.
The first half saw the two teams start with lots of offense and next to no defense, as they combined to shoot 12-for-24 to begin the contest. Neither side truly grabbed the reins, either, as the largest lead in the half was 5 points by Miami, and just when it seemed one team or the other was about to take over, they would let the opponent get right back into it.
The Irish were certainly hindered by Juwan Durham and Nate Laszewski getting into foul trouble early, with both picking up 2 fouls in the first 10 minutes and then Laszewski picking up his 3rd and being relegated to the bench until the 2nd half. Cormac Ryan also went down with an ankle sprain midway through the half, but after some time in the locker room he was cleared to return.
In the second half, the Irish began to push ahead a bit early on, driven largely by Djogo continuing to have his best game of the season, in conjunction with a few nice contributions from Durham. They took a 50-43 lead with about 11 minutes left in the game, but Miami wasn’t discouraged, chipping away at the lead over the next couple minutes until they made it 50-49 with about 9 minutes to play. A Cormac Ryan “Flagrant 1” foul on a Miami fast break contributed to what was ultimately an 11-2 run by the Hurricanes, giving them a 54 to 52 lead with 6:30 to go.
A Nate Laszewski 7-0 run over the course of less than 3 minutes — including a couple buckets off nice passes from Djogo and Hubb — reclaimed the Irish lead. From there the Irish got a few stops and Trey Wertz did some clutch scoring down the stretch, and despite a little more trouble against the full-court press, the Irish ultimately coasted and walked out with the 10-point victory.
The Irish improved to 9-10 (6-7 ACC) on the season, and play next on Wednesday, 2/17, against the Clemson Tigers at Purcell Pavilion.