Noie: Good day from Dane Goodwin means good win for Notre Dame
Stepping through the tunnel that spills from the Notre Dame men’s basketball locker room, guard Dane Goodwin often follows a familiar post-game path out of Purcell Pavilion.
It’s a few steps along the east baseline, then an angle cut up a set of stairs to the family seating area in section 18. There, he usually, OK, always, has his parents and maybe his siblings and other relatives who’ve made the drive from their homes in Columbus, Ohio waiting for him.
Goodwin’s time with them extends from the seating area, out to the concourse and then across the empty arena parking lot before he goes his separate way and they go theirs. On Wednesday, Goodwin’s family couldn’t make the trip to watch him play for one of the few times in his collegiate career. Maybe the first time.
They missed a good one from Goodwin.
The junior tied his career high with 27 points to help Notre Dame snap a two-game losing streak with an 81-70 victory over Bellarmine. Playing only its second game against a team from outside a power conference, Notre Dame (3-4) also got 18 points from Prentiss Hubb and 16 from Nate Laszewski. It was a lot of Laszewski in the first half (14 points) and a lot of Hubb (13) in the second. And a lot of Goodwin (11 of the first 20 for the Irish) all day for a team that needed an afternoon to compete and win after extended struggles the last few games.
Goodwin got going early in his usual, efficient way. He just plays differently now than he did his first two years. He now knows he’s going to be on the floor. He’s going to play big minutes — he came into Wednesday leading the Atlantic Coast Conference in minutes played (37.5) — and he’s going to get his chances. There’s no reason to rush, and Goodwin doesn’t. He barely breaks so much as a sweat as he gets to his spots and get his shots.
“Having two years under my belt has really done a lot for me,” Goodwin said. “I’ve played in a lot of games. Just understanding the pace that I have to play with, understanding where I have to be has been great for me.”
On Wednesday, that meant starting everything in a place that first drew the attention of Irish coaches on the recruiting trail — down on the block. The 6-foot-6 Goodwin posted up, and even tossed in a jump hook for good measure, to get going early.
“I had a good start,” he said. “Just good to get out there and get a win.”
About all that went wrong for Goodwin arrived halfway through the second half when he blew a tire, so to speak. Goodwin lost his right low-cut UnderArmour sneaker during one sequence and was forced to defend in his sock. The Irish got the stop, got a timeout and Goodwin got his shoe back.
In his last two home games, Goodwin’s a smoking 18-for-22 (81.8 percent) from the field.
“He is in a great frame of mind,” said Irish coach Mike Brey. “He is attacking and extremely confident. Dane Goodwin is playing as good as anybody in our league right now. You know what, I almost kind of expected it in Year Three.”
It is expected, and not a surprise to see what Goodwin did Wednesday, to see what he’s done this season. That’s what guys in this program do — elevate their games as they get older.
Wednesday wasn’t all Goodwin and his good day. It also was about Brey riding a core seven-man rotation from start to finish. No fooling around with a freshman. It didn’t matter if the Irish jumped to a big lead. They’d lead by as many as 13 and lead for 27:59. It didn’t matter if Bellarmine was going to make a run — and the Knights did. Brey was going to ride with those seven guys to see if they could find a collective competitive rhythm. For the most part, they did. They played with two big guys. They played with four guards.
“It was a little bit of an identity for us, as we’re still searching,” Brey said. “I just wanted to get a feel of rotating them.”
Notre Dame also went most of the way in a 2-3 zone. After opening in man, the Irish switched to zone and played it almost exclusively the final 36 minutes. They’re going to have to play a lot of it when conference play returns next week, and they’re going to have to guard out of it. The Knights found too many soft spots (50 percent from the field, 55 from 3), but never got it to a one-possession game over the final 16-plus minutes.
Notre Dame mustered enough stops out of it to feel better about its defense than the previous two times out against Purdue (loss) and Duke (loss). On Wednesday, it didn’t allow a single offensive rebound, which hasn’t happened for the Irish since at least 1996. Duke got nine; Purdue snared 12.
“We matched up with their shooters pretty well,” Goodwin said. “We stayed solid. We were ourselves defensively and stayed in front of guys and made them take tough shots.”
A game that was played in barely an hour and 45 minutes (thanks to no television) on this date usually would allow the Irish an early get-away for Christmas break. Not this year. Players will remain in town until Notre Dame plays again on Dec. 30 against No. 16 Virginia. Much was made the last few weeks (Mike Krzyzewski) about players being able to get home for the holidays, but the Irish knew when this season started that Christmas at home wasn’t happening.
To play again next week and the weeks that follow, they’d have to stay close to campus. They’ll do Christmas together and exchange gifts at Brey’s house. For this year, that’s fine.
“As a group, we’ve kind of come together a little bit,” Goodwin said. “We’ve got to be there for each other since we can’t go home. Just staying solid and doing things as a team takes the place of going home and being with the family.
“We’ve got to stay here to work toward our goal of the next game and finish out the season.”
About 30 minutes after this one went final, Goodwin appeared from the tunnel and walked up the stairs between sections 17 and 18. His parents weren’t there. His siblings weren’t there. He talked to a few people before leaving up the stairs and out of the building with a friend. It was early enough to still grab a late lunch or an afternoon nap.
It already had been a good day. For him, and for the Irish.
BELLARMINE (1-3): Claycomb 3-9 2-2 10, Thelen 2-2 0-0 4, Betz 2-4 0-0 4, Bradshaw 4-7 2-3 11, Fleming 5-9 0-0 15, Penn 7-15 0-0 16, Pfriem 1-5 1-1 3, Devault 3-3 0-0 7, Tipton 0-0 0-0 0, Wieland 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-54 5-6 70.
NOTRE DAME (3-4): Laszewski 7-7 0-1 16, Goodwin 8-10 11-11 27, Hubb 5-11 4-4 18, Ryan 2-7 2-2 7, Wertz 0-3 2-3 2, Durham 2-3 2-4 6, Djogo 2-2 0-0 5. Totals 26-43 21-25 81.
Halftime:_Notre Dame 45-36. 3-Point Goals:_Bellarmine 11-20 (Fleming 5-6, Penn 2-4, Claycomb 2-6, Bradshaw 1-1, Devault 1-1, Pfriem 0-2), Notre Dame 8-20 (Hubb 4-10, Laszewski 2-2, Djogo 1-1, Ryan 1-4, Goodwin 0-1, Wertz 0-2). Fouled Out:_Claycomb. Rebounds: Bellarmine 15 (Bradshaw 6), Notre Dame 33 (Laszewski 8). Assists:_Bellarmine 18 (Betz 5), Notre Dame 12 (Hubb, Wertz 4). Total Fouls: Bellarmine 21, Notre Dame 11. A_82 (9,149).