Notre Dames tops Clemson for sixth consecutive victory
Published 12:49 am Thursday, January 13, 2022
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame men’s basketball team earned its sixth straight victory in Purcell Pavilion, defeating Clemson 72-56 Wednesday night.
After a layup 16 seconds into the contest for the Tigers, the Irish would hold the lead — which eventually ballooned to as many as 23 points — for the rest of the game.
Senior Dane Goodwin came out red-hot from the tip-off of the contest, scoring 15 first-half points on the way to a 21-point game. The Upper Arlington, Ohio, native shot eight-for-10 from the field and three-for-three from 3-point range.
Reigning national freshman of the week, Blake Wesley recovered from an uneven first half to score 16 points in the game’s second 20 minutes for his fourth 20-point game of the season.
P.J. Hall led Clemson with 14 points and seven rebounds.
How it happened
The Irish (10-5, 4-1) started the game on a 12-2 run, highlighted by a Nate Laszewski transition pull-up 3-pointer to force a Clemson timeout. By the time the first media break of the game arrived, Notre Dame’s advantage was 17-8 and powered by eight points from Goodwin.
A mini 6-0 run from Clemson caused a bit of a momentum slip for the home team, but Paul Atkinson Jr. ended the run with a hook shot followed by a deep 3-pointer from Trey Wertz to push the Irish lead to double digits.
While the offense was running smoothly in the first half, the Irish defense was the big story. Mixing in a new look zone that emphasized taking away outside shooting, Notre Dame held Clemson (10-6, 2-3) without a field goal for close to five minutes, eventually going into the break with a 39-22 lead. The Tigers shot just 8-for-31 (.258) from the field in the first half.
The lead quickly grew to 46-26 in the second half, as Goodwin connected on two jumpers and Wesley started to heat up. The South Bend rookie began to score from all over the court, hitting jumpers and driving to the hoop. He eventually finished the game 6-for-14 from the field with 20 points, six rebounds and two assists.
Wesley’s back-to-back 20-point games are the first for an Irish true freshman since Chris Thomas had a 32 point, then 26-point game in February of 2001.
Next up for the Irish will be a two-game road swing. On Saturday night, Notre Dame will head to Blacksburg, Virginia, for an ACC clash with Virginia Tech (6 p.m., ACC Network).
The Irish will then bus up to Washington, D.C., on Monday, for the highly anticipated MLK Day Classic at Howard University. That game will be broadcast nationally on Fox at 2:30 p.m.