Notre Dame, Ind. — Dane Goodwin scored 24 points including the game-winning three-pointer with 14 seconds remaining as Notre Dame topped Lipscomb, 66-65 in a second-half thriller Friday night at Purcell Pavilion.
Lipscomb missed his chance to win at the buzzer thanks to determined defense by Nate Laszewski on guard Derrin Boyd—the latter’s 12-footer from the left elbow-extended hitting hard off the back base of the rim near the final gun.
It was one of just six shots missed by the visiting Bison in the second half—a remarkable 19-for-25 performance that was—notably—19 for 23 until Lipscomb’s final two shots that bookended Goodwin’s game winner.
“That was a great college basketball game,” said Lipscomb head coach Lennie Acuff. “Give them credit, they made some big shots. We had two bad possessions at the end, that’s on me. We should’ve tried to do something else. I just didn’t want to call timeout because I thought (Mike Brey) would go zone. He’s done that (before). Didn’t want to get the game stopped.”
In addition to his final defensive stand off a high screen switch, Laszewksi added 16 points including 14 in the second stanza on 4-for-4 shooting from the field and 4-4 from the foul line. Notre Dame hit seven of its 10 three-point shot attempts in the second half and limited Lipscomb to just three three-pointers made (four attempts) and one second half free throw.
But it was open-season everywhere else against the Irish defense.
“We had a pretty good first half defensively; the second half they got it going a little bit more,” said Laszewski. “I think defense for us is always going to be a work in process. I think over the course of the season you’re going to get better and better at that.”
“Their bigs are pretty skilled down there,” Goodwin added. “We kind of lacked a little bit on the defensive end.”
Notre Dame hit a dozen three point shots including six by Goodwin on eight attempts. Both he and Laszewski played the game’s full 40 minutes and fellow graduate students Trey Wertz and Cormac Ryan came close at just under 39 and 38 minutes, respectively.
“We just really didn’t want to give up threes,” said Mike Brey of the Irish defense. “We were really riding it (the three-point line). Probably a little tired because we had to play so long (possessions). As long as it wasn’t a three, I thought we’d have a chance to do it.
“We’ve got some exhaustion,” he added, noting “We talked about zone because they’re coming down the pipe so much, but, if they hit two threes in a row you’re not going to win the game. It’s a weird way of looking at it.”
“They’re a really gifted offensive team,” Brey noted of the Bisons 80-point average. “They’re a great passing team. They’re a better passing team than us right now.”
Acuff felt the same about Brey’s bunch.
“They can really score. It’s like watching a semi-pro team they’re so old,” he said of the graduate-student laden Irish. “You know you’re good at something when you make it look easy…like the last possession, I don’t even know what happened. They just kind of moved the ball around, we made a mistake (help defense) and they made us pay.”
MULTIPLE DOUBLE DIGIT LEADS DON’T LAST LONG
The Irish first took control of the contest near the midpoint of the first half, turning a 12-7 deficit—highlighted by 10 points from Bison guard Trae Benham—into a 29-18 lead with 4:30 remaining before the break.
It was the aforementioned Ryan’s defense on Benham thereafter that helped the Irish get away in the first half. With a dozen through eight minutes, Benham didn’t score again for the next 26—though he’d have a major hand in the late proceedings.
“He’s unbelievable,” said Brey of Ryan. “Cormac Ryan has so given himself to just guard and take away a guy…and you know what? It definitely affects his offense. And he doesn’t care.”
Lipscomb closed the half with five straight points and began the second stanza with a Boyd triple to draw within four, 29-25, its closest margin since the 8:14 mark of the first half.
Valparaiso transfer forward Jacob Ognacevic scored 19 points for the Bison on 9-of-12 shooting including 14 (7-for-8) in the second half.
The Bisons would close the gap to three points on three occasions before the first official’s timeout of the second, but a three-pointer by Laszewski followed by a trio of free throws from the big man and a Goodwin triple from the left wing extended Notre Dame’s lead back to double digits, 44-34.
Lipscomb would not yield, forging back to within four points forcing the hosts into a 30-second timeout, clinging to a 44-40 with just under 11 minutes remaining. The Irish responded out of the break with an in-bounds play freeing Laszewski for another three-pointer and Goodwin drilled a corner three one possession later to help re-claim a 10-point margin.
Lipscomb against closed the gap to six, 56-50, but after Ryan missed a layup, he rebounded and found an open JJ Starling for a left corner three-pointer and 59-50 Irish edge. Benham broke his 26-minute scoring drought with a buzzer-beating three-pointer from the left corner for a 59-55 deficit. He then found forward Matthew Schner for a layup one possession later on a drive-and-dish, and when Ognacevic dropped in a hook shot, the Bisons were within a bucket, 61-59 at the three-minute mark.
After Trey Wertz missed a triple in response, it was Benham again from the left corner, this time putting a three-pointer over the leaping Ryan’s outstretched hand and drawing a foul in the process—the suddenly re-engaged sharp-shooter’s jumper and ensuing free throw gave the guests a 63-61 lead with 2:11 to play.
It was their first since leading 14-12 midway through the first half.
After an Irish timeout, Ryan tied the contest with a pull-up jump shot but Boyd scored again in close for a 65-63 edge. Wertz and Benham exchanged misses on back-to-back possessions and the Irish turned to Goodwin whose aforementioned wide open triple—courtesy a driving Ryan—won the contest.
Benham tied for a team-high 19 points (7-for-13 overall) with four of the Bison’s half-dozen three-pointers on the evening.
“We only took 13 threes. I can’t remember the last time we only took 13 threes in a game,” said Acuff.
Bisons center Ahsan Asadullah added 10 points on nine shots to round out the guest’s double-digit contributors. Goodwin and Laszewski were joined by the freshman Starling with 11 points (5-for-11 shooting) while Wertz scored 8 and Ryan 7 highlighted by his pull-up jumper that tied the contest at 63 late. Freshman forward Ven-Allen Lubin logged 13 minutes missing each of his three shots with three rebounds and a turnover.
Brey expects Niagara transfer guard Marcus Hammond to make his Irish debut after Thanksgiving weekend.
“I think playing Tuesday is an extreme long shot; could we have him (Friday, Nov. 25) for St. Bonaventure? That would be a grand slam. But I think it’s more into next week,” Brey said. “We could use another veteran body out there and another guard that can make a play.
“But thank the Lord for Trey Wertz,” Brey added. “The guy has come in and run our team. He’s exhausted, but I’m really pleased with how he’s running us.”
Notre Dame hosts Michigan State on Wednesday, Nov. 30 and begins ACC play with a one-off game against Syracuse at the Purcell Pavilion on Saturday, Dec. 3 thereafter.