Notre Dame rolls to easy win over Western Michigan

Published 11:44 am Tuesday, December 21, 2021

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame men’s basketball team (5-5) started the game on a 10-0 run and never looked back in a 85-52 victory over Western Michigan (4-7) in Purcell Pavilion Monday evening.

The Irish shot 51.8 percent from the field, led by a game-high 18 points from senior Dane Goodwin along with 17 points and five rebounds from graduate student Paul Atkinson Jr.

Notre Dame’s game-opening run saw four different players score, with a 3-pointer to start the game from freshman Blake Wesley.

The Broncos then answered with five points before another 7-0 Irish run pushed the lead to 19-8 at the first media timeout. Atkinson Jr. set the tone for the game in those first few minutes, earning two trips to the line and tallying six total points.

The home team’s lead grew to 27-17 with 8:44 left in the first half, then a 3-pointer from Dane Goodwin, who became the 66th Notre Dame player to reach 1,000 points in a career with his first five points of the game, pushed the Irish lead to 32-21 with 6:23 left in the first half.

Notre Dame’s offense, keyed by its defense, completely controlled the final 7:30 of the first half. A 17-2 run by the Irish completed the first 20 minutes and was highlighted by a break-away steal and dunk from Blake Wesley. Notre Dame would finish the half connecting on five-of-seven shots while forcing seven WMU turnovers and holding the Broncos to 1-11 shooting.

The lead grew to 30 at 60-30 halfway through the second period, highlighted by a seven-point run by Goodwin. He earned a trip to the line, scored on a drive then connected on a corner 3-pointer. The Upper Arlington, Ohio, native stretched his career-best double-digit scoring streak to 10 games (all 10 games this season).

Notre Dame would hold the lead for the remainder of the contest. Wesley finished with 15 points and a career-high eight rebounds. He joins Chris Thomas and Luke Harangody as the only true freshmen of the Mike Brey era to reach double-digits in scoring in eight of their first 10 career games. Cormac Ryan, who came off the bench for the first time this season, played 25 minutes and scored 13 points in four-of-six shooting with five rebounds, three assists and a career-high three blocked shots.

Next up for the Irish will be the final game before Christmas and the final non-conference game until the Martin Luther King Jr. Day game at Howard on Jan. 17. Notre Dame will take on Texas A&M Corpus Christi at 1 p.m. Wednesday.