Notre Dame rolls past UCLA

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — Sophomore guard Dane Goodwin got going early to keep Notre Dame rolling.

Goodwin scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half, to pace Notre Dame to a 75-61 victory over one-time rival UCLA at Purcell Pavilion.

Irish guard Prentiss Hubb scored a game-high 20 points with six assists.

The Bruins (7-4) never led. The Irish (8-3) struggled to make a high percentage of shots, but not nearly as inept as the visitors, who finished with a season low for points.

Irish power forward John Mooney recorded his 10th double double this season with 14 points and 15 rebounds.

After tying the school record with 20 3-pointers in Tuesday's win over Detroit Mercy, Notre Dame returned to make 15 from 3.

A 14-4 Irish burst to begin the second half basically put this one to bed.

Former Irish coach Digger Phelps, who beat UCLA a time or two during his career, was courtside on the call for ABC. He was alongside former UCLA center Bill Walton, who called the 1974 loss to Notre Dame the worst day of his life.

It was a lot of bad basketball early. Notre Dame finally found a team that struggled to make shots almost as much as the Irish have struggled this season. The teams combined at one point to make one of 17 attempts and five of their first 25.

Notre Dame soon found a rhythm thanks to three 3s from Goodwin and another from Prentiss Hubb, which saw the Irish push their lead to double digits, 20-8, with just over eight minutes in the half.

Notre Dame led by as many as 14 points in the first half, and by seven at half. Of Notre Dame’s 11 first-half baskets, eight were from 3. John Mooney made the game’s first basket, then didn’t score the rest of the first half.

Saturday was the 50th meeting between the programs, which used to play twice a season back when Notre Dame was an independent.

Notre Dame needed this one for perception more than reality. The Irish pointed to this one as a chance to beat a power-five opponent. Notre Dame has another chance next Saturday following a week off for final exams when it faces Indiana in the annual Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Both coaches indicated they would like to circle back around to this series given its history and tradition, but it likely goes on hiatus for the next four years — and maybe longer. Notre Dame plans to fill this slot on next year’s schedule – and the year after that — with a two-game series against former Big East colleague Georgetown. Notre Dame and Marquette also have an agreement to rekindle that series for two seasons beginning in 2022-23.

The move to a 20-game schedule in the Atlantic Coast Conference has made it tough to schedule non-league games.

Notre Dame’s Dane Goodwin (23) celebrates one of his three 3-pointers in the first half of Saturday's game against UCLA.