Dane Goodwin rescues Notre Dame from a disastrous defensive effort vs. Lipscomb
SOUTH BEND — Three quick thoughts and other news and notes and anecdotes following Friday’s men’s basketball game between Lipscomb and Notre Dame, won by Notre Dame, 66-65, in front of 6,552 at Purcell Pavilion.
∎ There are escapes, and then there’s what Notre Dame somehow pulled off in front of a rare lathered-up non-conference home crowd Friday night.
This was something beyond an escape. Something that would have made Houdini look like a freakin’ amateur. Like, how did they do that???
Super senior guard Dane Goodwin sent most of the crowd of 6,552 out into a seemingly mid-winter's night happy with the game-winning 3-pointer with 15.0 seconds remaining, but the some of the ones left behind (us media types) were left to shake their heads. How in the world did Notre Dame win that game? Explanations don't suffice.
Goodwin’s basket in a 66-65 win aside, Notre Dame had zero business moving to 4-0. This had bad loss tattooed all over it. Lipscomb missed its final two shots, including a Derrin Boyd potential game-winner at the buzzer, but before that stretch, the Bisons had made 19 of their 23 shots in the second half. That equates to 82.6 percent.
Eighty-two point six. Woof.
“Probably a little tired,” Irish coach Mike Brey said of the lack of any defensive resistance. “We’ll come back to the drawing board and try and do something in practice on Sunday.”
A little bit of effort would be a start.
Were the smoking shooting percentages a result of tired legs, or a lack of size around the rim? Lipscomb lived there in the second half. Notre Dame never did go big for any extended stretch, and never did play much zone.
“Maybe a combo,” Brey said. “Maybe a little bit of both and maybe a little bit of a really gifted offensive team.”
How many college teams, how many NBA teams, how many CYO teams win games after allowing the opposition to shoot 82.6 percent in a half? Not many. Not likely any. Notre Dame did. How?
“Just staying poised,” said super senior Nate Laszewski. “There were a lot of times late in the game when we gave up the lead and could’ve gotten down on ourselves. We came in the huddle, kind regrouped and found a way to win.”
Lipscomb shredded Notre Dame’s man defense in the second half with back cuts, with quick passing, with looks at the rim, with everything and anything it wanted to do. It scored 42 points in the paint. It erased a nine-point deficit with 5:55 remaining. It converted a 3-point shot (from Trae Benham) and a free throw for a four-point play to go up two with 2:11 remaining.
It should’ve won.
“Defense for us, is always going to be a little bit of a work in (progress),” Laszewski said. “Over the course of a season, as you see more teams, you’re going to get better and better at that.”
Notre Dame better get better.
∎ With Goodwin allowed to cook early and have the kind of night that he had – a game-high 24 points on 9-of-13 from the floor, 6-of-8 from 3 — you kind of figured that for all the defensive disappointment on display, if they — he — could get one clean look at a 3 with the game on the line, the Irish were getting out of there with the most improbable of wins.
Goodwin got that look courtesy of a Cormac Ryan drive and kick out. He was left wide open on for a left-wing 3. With the Irish trailing by two and 14.7 seconds remaining, Notre Dame had to have it.
Goodwin stuck it and Notre Dame survived.
“I knew one of us (old guys) needed to hit a big shot,” Goodwin said. “On any given night, it’s going to be any of us. I kind of keyed in on that today, just being ready to shoot, wherever it is on the floor. That mindset helped me a little bit.”
It was the first true game-winner of Goodwin’s college career in game No. 130.
“He’s been taking them up, hogging them all,” Goodwin said of game-winners as he looked at Laszewski, who’s hit a few in his time. “That was good to get. I don’t even remember who passed it.”
∎ You could almost hear the collective exhale from the Irish locker room – and from the coaching staff – after this one went final.
Notre Dame opened with four home games in nine days. Two of them — Radford and Lipscomb — were really difficult. A third (Youngstown State) was challenging. Only Southern Indiana seemed a breeze, but Brey knew nothing was going to come easily for an Irish team that still isn’t whole (no Marcus Hammond) and still trying to figure itself out.
And with the Atlantic Coast Conference taking its share of early Ls, it’s big for Notre Dame to sidestep all of those potential pitfalls and come out with four wins. Really. It is. This opening stretch was a big ask of a team down one of its best players, but the Irish answered.
“I knew this was going to be the hardest of these first four games,” Brey said. “We couldn’t get away from them. We kind of believe we can get over the hump, especially in this building.”
That’s why he was more than a little relieved to get this one. Fourth game in nine days, Notre Dame had every reason to look gassed. Spent. Unsure. But when you have Goodwin and Laszewski, who both logged all 40 minutes, you’re going to figure it out.
The Irish figured it out.
Notre Dame could use Hammond to return from his right knee injury next week, but Brey said that’s an “extreme longshot” to happen Tuesday against Bowling Green. Maybe – maybe − Black Friday against Saint Bonaventure.
“It may be more the next week,” Brey said. “He’s doing good. He's moving. He feels he can go. He doesn’t have any pain, but they want to test that thing. We certainly can use him.”
Sooner than later.
Friday marked the 22-year anniversary to the day that Brey coached his first game at Notre Dame, a 104-58 victory over Sacred Heart. At the time, it was the largest margin of victory at home for Notre Dame since 1978.
Former Irish All-American power forward Troy Murphy scored 31 points with 14 rebounds. Former Irish first team All-Big East power forward Ryan Humphrey added 19 points and nine rebounds. Then-sophomore guard Matt Carroll had 17 points, six assists and five rebounds.
Stunningly, the attendance was listed as 10,480, a number that would be unheard of in today’s world of sparse home crowds that usually don’t match even half that number.
It was Brey’s career win No. 100. The Irish presented him afterward with the game ball. Notre Dame would finish 20-10 overall, 11-5 and champions of the then-Big East West Division. They returned to the NCAA tournament that season for the first time in 11 years. Twenty-two seasons later, Brey is the winningest coach in program history (475 wins).
“Shout out to the crowd. They were really good tonight. Our fans were good. Appreciate the effort.” — Laszewski on the fan turnout, which was the best it’s been this season.
Worth quoting II
“They’re a better passing team than us right now.” — Brey after seeing the Bisons finish with 13 assists to his team’s 11. And he’s right. The other guys are better. They share it better. They move better.
By the numbers
∎ 0: Number of free throws Notre Dame shot in the first half after going to the line for an average of just over 22 attempts in the first three games. The Irish finished with a season low five free throws.
∎ 6: Length of Irish rotation Friday. This was not a game to go deep into the bench. Lipscomb’s too good.
∎ 10: Freshman power forward Ven-Allen Lubin was the only reserve to play Friday, and led the Irish with a plus-minus rating of (+10). That means good stuff happened when he was on the floor, even though he was on the floor for only 13:07 minutes.
∎ 19: Bench points scored by Lipscomb. Notre Dame had zero.
∎ 4:25: Notre Dame staggered through the final 4:25 of the first half without a point, which saw its half-high 11-point lead shaved to six at intermission.
∎ 5:44: Length of game time that Lipscomb went between baskets late in the first half, which allowed Notre Dame to run off 10 unanswered points and turn a one-point lead into an 11-point advantage.
∎ 13: Notre Dame entered the second full weekend of the regular season ranked No. 13 among the ACC’s 15 teams for average home attendance. Notre Dame’s first three home games drew a (generously-listed) average of 4,690). Only Boston College (4,293) and Georgia Tech (3,171) had averaged fewer fans.
∎ 15:21: Time remaining when Notre Dame went to the free throw line for the first time – three free throws from Laszewski, which gave Irish a 41-32 lead.
∎ 2017: Last time Notre Dame started a season 4-0.
After four games in nine days, Notre Dame actually gets an extra two days off before jumping back into game prep and non-conference play at home Tuesday against Bowling Green (2-1). It’s the first of two games in four days, which also includes the first game away from home on Black Friday against Saint Bonaventure at the one-day/one-game Gotham Classic in Elmont, New York.
Bowling Green was scheduled to play Saturday at Saint Bonaventure as part of the Gotham Classic.
Notre Dame 66, Lipscomb 65
LIPSCOMB (2-2): Asadullah 5-9 0-0 10, Benham 7-13 1-1 19, Boyd 4-7 0-0 9, Pruitt 1-3 0-0 2, Schner 3-6 0-0 6, Ognacevic 9-12 0-0 19, McGinnis 0-2 0-0 0, Murr 0-1 0-0 0, Asman 0-0 0-0 0, Clark 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-53 1-1 65.
NOTRE DAME (4-0): Laszewski 5-11 4-4 16, Goodwin 9-13 0-0 24, Ryan 3-9 0-0 7, Starling 5-11 0-0 11, Wertz 3-9 0-1 8, Lubin 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 25-56 4-5 66.
Halftime—Notre Dame 29-23. 3-Point Goals—Lipscomb 6-13 (Benham 4-7, Boyd 1-1, Ognacevic 1-1, McGinnis 0-1, Murr 0-1, Schner 0-2), Notre Dame 12-30 (Goodwin 6-8, Laszewski 2-5, Wertz 2-7, Starling 1-3, Ryan 1-5, Lubin 0-2). Rebounds—Lipscomb 31 (Schner 8), Notre Dame 23 (Laszewski 9). Assists—Lipscomb 13 (Boyd 3), Notre Dame 11 (Ryan, Wertz 4). Total Fouls—Lipscomb 10, Notre Dame 6. A—6,552 (9,149).
Follow South Bend Tribune and NDInsider columnist Tom Noie on Twitter: @tnoieNDI. Contact: (574) 235-6153.