Blue and Gold Illustrated

December 2019

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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38 DECEMBER 2019 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED MEN'S BASKETBALL BY TODD D. BURLAGE M ike Brey has never been shy about telling his players not to be shy. The Irish head basketball coach is more likely to pull a player from a game for turning down an open shot than he would be yank- ing a guy for missing a few in a row. Notre Dame's 64-62 overtime win against Toledo Nov. 21 served as a prime example. Irish forward Nate Laszewski had missed 19 of his 22 three-point shots through his first six games this sea- son. So what did Brey do? He drew up an out-of-bounds play for Laszewski with only 1.5 seconds remaining in regulation and his Irish trailing by three points. "When we came out of the time- out, Coach Brey subbed me in," re- counted Laszewski, a 6-9, 225-pound sophomore out of Jupiter, Fla. "It's a misdirection play and Coach Brey told me if I found my look to take it." Laszewski found the look, took the shot, hit nothing but net, tied the game and set up an overtime victory for the Irish. The win was part of a perfect 6-0 home stand. "He was due, wasn't he?" Brey chuckled rhetorically after the game. Remarkably, Notre Dame recorded its 13th win in an overtime game in its last 16 tries. With ACC play fast approaching, Brey is going to need more of the same out of Laszewski — and essen- tially all of his other shooters — be- cause the long-range shots have yet to fall with any frequency or consis- tency this season. But even through Laszewski's sluggish shooting start, Brey still sees a much improved player from a year ago. "I thought he was doing other stuff," Brey said of Laszewski, who has increased his rebounding from 3.9 per game in 19.0 minutes per out- ing as a freshman last year to 6.2 per game in 21.0 minutes of action so far this season. Laszewski made just 2 of 7 three- point shots against Toledo, including the one that sent the game to over- time and set up the Irish comeback win, which might provide some- IRISH ROLL IN TUNE-UP GAME Paced by 16 points off the bench from sophomore forward Nate Laszewski, six Notre Dame players scored in double figures in a 91‑66 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson Nov. 26, a win that moved the Irish winning streak to six games, all of which came during a home stand that followed a season‑opening road loss to ACC rival North Carolina. The Fighting Irish bench provided 38 points in the game, and senior forwards John Mooney (13 points and 13 rebounds) and Ju‑ wan Durham (12 points and 11 rebounds) both recorded double‑doubles. Notre Dame made eight of its first 14 shots against Fairleigh Dickinson, while the Knights missed their first 18 field goal tries, which led to a 13‑0 Irish lead. Notre Dame was never seriously threatened the rest of the way. In a balanced effort on both sides of the court, the Irish had 24 assists on its 32 baskets and outrebounded FDU 44‑33. — Todd D. Burlage Just Following Orders Despite a sluggish start shooting, sophomore forward Nate Laszewski has been told to keep firing away Laszewski struggled from long range early in the season, but hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to send the game against Toledo Nov. 21 into overtime, where the Irish prevailed 64-62. PHOTO BY COREY BODDEN

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