After deflating defeat, Irish get hot and get better in beating Chaminade 90-64

David Woods
Indianapolis Star
Nov 13, 2021; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Prentiss Hubb (3) , guard Cormac Ryan (5) , guard Dane Goodwin (23) , guard Blake Wesley (0) and forward Nate Laszewski (14) huddle in the first half against the Cal State Northridge Matadors at the Purcell Pavilion. On Tuesday night Notre Dame defeated Chaminade in the consolation round of the Maui Invitational, 90-64 in Las Vegas. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

LAS VEGAS — There are a so many attractions for visitors to Las Vegas. Would you believe a college basketball team could discover therapy here?

Notre Dame might have done so. After a dispiriting loss to Maui Invitational finalist Saint Mary’s, the Fighting Irish derived more than relief in beating Chaminade, 90-64, in the consolation bracket late Tuesday night.

They got off the counselor’s coach and into their offense. A 21-0 run to start the second half allowed the Irish to feel better about themselves.

“Everyone is looking for therapy to grow their team right now,” coach Mike Brey said.

Notre Dame (3-1) will meet Texas A&M (5-1) for fifth place at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday (ESPN) at Michelob Ultra Arena. Tourney location was changed from Hawaii because of the pandemic.

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Chaminade, the NCAA Division II host for the Maui Invitational, is 8-97 in this tournament and 0-2 against Notre Dame. Still, Brey conceded he was uneasy about playing the Silverswords, who lost to Notre Dame 83-56 at Maui in 2017.

“I always worry about them getting us,” Brey said. “Especially for us, we invested a lot last night and had a disappointing finish against a really good team, obviously, in Saint Mary’s.

“I thought we were ready to go. They shot the heck out of it. I just thought we were more poised offensively than the night before.”

Saint Mary’s, which upset Oregon 62-50 to reach the title game against Wisconsin, beat Notre Dame 62-59 Monday.

Against Chaminade, Brey said, the Irish dribbled less and used more of the floor. Notre Dame shot 56% and made 12 3-pointers.

Six players scored in double figures: Dane Goodwin 17, Nate Laszewski 15, Blake Wesley 14, Paul Atkinson Jr. 12, and Prentiss Hubb and Cormac Ryan 11 each. Ryan shot 5-of-5.

Notre Dame led 24-17 before Chaminade hit a sequence of timely shots in a 13-2 run to seize a 30-26 lead.

It appeared Chaminade would grab a one-point halftime lead, but Zach McIntire’s inside attempt rolled off the rim with five seconds left. Wesley then dribbled the length of the floor to score at the buzzer, making it 41-38.

After the Irish scored the first 21 points of the second half, the run became 23-0 and the score 62-38. The Silverswords missed their first 13 shots of the half.

“It started on the defensive end,” Goodwin said. “We talked about that. We needed to be better on the defensive end. They were hitting shots all over.

“We came out ready. We shared the ball and got some open looks, and it paced us for the whole second half.”

Isaac Amaral-Artharee shot 4-of-7 on 3-pointers and scored 16 points for Chaminade (0-2).

Notre Dame led in every meaningful category, including 46-22 in the paint and 21-3 in fast-break points.

Chaminade coach Eric Bovaird said he told his team it had to win “50/50 balls” to beat the Irish, and the Irish secured the first two loose balls of the second half.

“That’s a sign that things aren’t going to go well,” Bovaird said. “Because we have to outfight, we have to outrun, we have to outwork these teams. Most of them are bigger and stronger, and a lot of them are more skilled.

“So we’ve got to beat them in different ways. We can’t just go toe-for-toe with them and try to outscore them.”

Not against a team that shot 66% (27-of-41) over the final 25 minutes, as Notre Dame did.

The outcome prompted Brey to fashion a Vegas mission statement: “Let’s get out of this city 2-1."

It would be therapeutic.

Contact IndyStar reporter David Woods at david.woods@indystar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidWoods007.