Well, it wasn’t the prettiest win in the history of Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball, but Mike Brey’s squad picked up its second win of the season this evening, defeating the Chicago State Cougars 89 to 62.
Elijah Burns led the way for the Irish with a career-high 15 points, looking like a new player out there to anyone who has watched him struggle on offense the past few years. He was sensational tonight.
ND also got significant scoring contributions from Nate Laszewski (12 points), DJ Harvey (11 points), and TJ Gibbs (10 points), and the team shot 44% from the field and 33% from deep. Dane Goodwin, John Mooney, Robby Carmody, and Rex Pflueger combined for another 31 points as the team really spread the ball around on the evening.
The first half wasn’t exactly a smooth one for the Irish, as ND saw their lead of 18 points disappear during a 25-7 run by the Cougars in the last few minutes.
ND answered with an Elijah Burns bucket and a Laszewski three to finish the half up 40-35, but that was WAY too close for comfort considering the Cougars lost their season opener to the Indiana Hoosiers by 49 points, and that the Irish have beaten Chicago State by an average of 39 points the last three times these two teams have squared off (2017, 2016, 2014).
During the second half, the young, inexperienced Irish put their foot on the gas a bit, going on a 12-0 run sparked by Elijah Burns, who had a couple buckets during the stretch — including a MONSTER and-one jam.
From there, Chicago State hung around a bit, as the Irish took a fairly steady 15-point lead into the under-12 timeout. From there, though, Notre Dame’s superior talent took over, and the Irish extended their lead to 32 by the 5:46 mark. ND held serve the rest of the way, and ended it with a 89 to 62 victory.
ND (2-0) plays next against the Radford Highlanders on Wednesday, November 14th at Purcell Pavilion, the third game of a seven-game home-stand to begin the season.