Irish go deep to drop Dolphins

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — Most any other freshman staring at a situation similar to the one that Notre Dame guard Dane Goodwin found himself in Thursday may have been too wrapped up in their own head to offer much of anything.

But Goodwin’s not your typical freshman. Not even close.

On Tuesday, coming off a career-best performance the previous game against Purdue, Goodwin made his first career start. On Thursday, with coach Mike Brey wanting to look a little longer at a larger lineup, Goodwin returned to his reserve role.

Going one and done — for now — didn’t faze Goodwin one bit. He just continued to play, to make shots, to make a difference in going for a career-high 19 points with five rebounds and three assists.

Goodwin’s game helped Notre Dame run its win streak to three with a 100-74 victory over Jacksonville at Purcell Pavilion. Afterward, while Goodwin and his family were preparing to leave the building, Brey offered a comparison between the kid from Upper Arlington, Ohio and a former Irish guard who played with the same type of measured steadiness, where you could never tell if he hadn’t made a shot in a month or hadn’t missed one.

Goodwin, Brey said, has a lot of Steve Vasturia in him with the way he just kind of arrives every day ready to compete, ready to offer something. He has the fundamentals. He has the feel. Doesn’t matter if he’s logging really heavy minutes like the career-high 36 he played Tuesday or the 24 he offered Thursday.

“He’s steady,” Brey said. “Dane Goodwin is one gifted basketball player. He plays the game older and sees it older than a freshman.”

Goodwin connected on eight of his 11 shots from the floor while Notre Dame shot 59.7 percent from the field, 56.3 percent from 3.

“It was a little bit of the whole team helping me get there,” Goodwin said. “We played free tonight and kind of no worries, that kind of thing.”

No worries about starting or not starting from Goodwin. Like many freshmen who arrive after being all-everything as high school seniors, it’s an adjustment and has been for Goodwin. He struggled early to find how he fit. Starter? Reserve? Doesn’t really matter.

“Me and Coach Brey talked about that,” he said of his return to a reserve role. “It wasn’t that he was demoting me. It’s just that we’re trying out different things. We’re all trying to figure it out a little bit.

“I was completely OK with that. Coming off the bench and being ready is all part of it.”

Junior guard T.J. Gibbs had a season high seven assists to help the Irish finish with a season high of 24 helpers. It was one of those nights to stuff that stats-sheet stocking in myriad ways for Notre Dame (9-3), which never trailed and led by as many as 31 while making a season-high 18 3-pointers and finishing with a season high for points.

“We’re really starting to figure it out now,” Goodwin said. “It’s all come together in a sense. We’re excited for it.”

Notre Dame flirted with the school record for 3s of 20 set in 2011. Five Irish scored double figures.

“I’ll certainly take an offensive flow like that as we’re searching for an identity again,” Brey said. “Maybe we find some offensive flow out of tonight.”

What should have just been another ho-hum non-league game against an overmatched team before Notre Dame broke for Christmas started was anything but when Brey, often the mad scientist of lineup combinations the first six weeks of the season, decided to switch it all up again.

Out went Goodwin and in stepped junior power forward Juwan Durham, who was coming off the best game and first double double of his career two nights earlier when he went for 16 points and 12 rebounds in a win over Binghamton.

“I kind of like how we started.” Brey said.

It’s the fifth different starting lineup the first 12 games.

Thursday was the first time that Durham started a collegiate game. He did so with Brey wanting to get a better and longer look at pairing Durham with fellow power forward John Mooney before the start on New Year’s Day of Atlantic Coast Conference play. Both had double doubles earlier in the week.

Both also have played limited minutes together, even in practice. Tuesday was really the first time they were on the court at the same time for more than a few minutes.

“We feel we have to do that,” Brey said Tuesday of playing the bigs together.

The move paid off early with Mooney getting a quick 11 points after hitting his first five shots. Durham following with five of his own before this one was five minutes old.

The two had 14 of Notre Dame’s first 19.

Mooney finished with 16 points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes. Durham had five and six in 22.

One game after seemingly not being able to buy a bucket, Notre Dame made 11 of its first 14 shots (78.5 percent) and opened a 26-17 lead after a Laszewski transition 3. That gave Notre Dame one more point in less than eight minutes than they scored in the first half two nights earlier (25).

Notre Dame was without senior captain Rex Pflueger on Thursday. The guard, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in last week’s win over Purdue, returned home to Southern California on Wednesday to be with his family.

Surgery on Pflueger’s torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee is set for Jan. 11 in South Bend.

•NOTRE DAME 100, JACKSONVILLE 74

At Purcell Pavilion

JACKSONVILLE (74): Jace Hogan 9-20 2-2 20, Tanner Rubio 0-1 0-0 0, Aamahne Santos 2-7 2-2 7, Jalyn Hinton 0-5 2-2 2, Tyreese Davis 5-11 3-4 14, JD Notae 6-15 0-0 17, Corey Romich 0-0 0-0 0, David Bell 5-8 0-0 10, DeAnthony McCallum 0-3 0-0 0, KJ Fitzgerald 0-2 0-0 0, Bryce Workman 1-2 2-2 4, Quinton Forrest 0-1 0-0 0, Derrick Flowers 0-0- 0-0 0. TOTALS 28-75 11-12 74.

NOTRE DAME (100): Juwan Durham 2-5 1-1 5, John Mooney 6-6 3-4 16, Prentiss Hubb 1-7 0-0 3, D.J. Harvey 6-11 3-4 19, T.J. Gibbs 7-11 0-0 18, Nikola Djogo 3-4 0-1 8, Nate Laszewski 4-6 0-0 12, Dane Goodwin 8-11 1-1 19, Liam Nelligan 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS: 37-62 8-11 100.

Halftime: ND 57, Jacksonville 43

3-point: ND 18-32 (Mooney 1-1, Hubb 1-6, Harvey 4-5, Gibbs 4-7, Djogo 2-3, Laszewski 4-6, Goodwin 2-3, Nelligan 0-1). Jacksonville 7-21 (Rubio 0-1, Santos 1-5, Davis 1-3, Notae 5-8, McCallum 0-2, Fitzgerald 0-1, Forrest 0-1). Fouls (fouled out): ND 8 (none), Jacksonville 10 (none). Rebounds: ND 38 (Mooney 7, Laszewski 7, Durham 6), Jacksonville 35 (Hogan 6, Notae 6). Turnovers: ND 10 (Hubb 2, Laszewski 2), Jacksonville 6. Assists: ND 24 (Gibbs 7, Hubb 7). Jacksonville 14 (Notae 7)

Notre Dame’s Dane Goodwin (23) drives to the basket during the Jacksonville at Notre Dame NCAA men’s basketball game Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018 at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend.
Notre Dame’s D.J. Harvey (5) dribbles down the court during the Jacksonville at Notre Dame NCAA men’s basketball game Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018 at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend.