Blue and Gold Illustrated

December 2019

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

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Page 38 of 47 DECEMBER 2019 39 MEN'S BASKETBALL thing to build on for the team and the player. "All my coaches, all my teammates tell me," said Laszewski, who scored a team-high 16 points five nights later in a 91-66 win over Fairleigh Dickinson. "If I have great looks, just keep shooting it and it will fall." Brey insists that the field goal per- centages will eventually even out for Laszewski — arguably the purest shooter on the Irish — and the shots will start connecting. In the meantime, the coach wants his versatile forward to keep firing and keep working. "He's rebounding, and he's de- fending," Brey said. "He's a more- ready college player this year." BUILDING ON TRADITION Notre Dame is continuing to be strong in three important areas of focus — sharing and protecting the ball, and defending without fouling. Through their first six games, the Irish ranked first among the 15 ACC teams in turnover margin at plus- 6.62 and were second in the league in assist/turnover ratio at 1.63. These numbers improved in game seven versus Fairleigh Dickinson Nov. 26, when the Irish combined for 24 assists (on 32 baskets) with only seven turnovers. "That's how we play," Brey said. "I look at assist-to-turnover in the team column throughout the game. Are we taking care of the ball and are we sharing it? It's something we really hang our hat on." The three starting Irish guards — sophomore Prentiss Hubb, along with seniors Rex Pflueger and T.J. Gibbs — all individually rank in the ACC's top 10 in assist/turnover ratio. Notre Dame also entered its week- long Thanksgiving break ranked third in the country in fewest per- sonal fouls committed per game (11.8). In the last decade, the Irish have finished outside of the nation's top 10 in this category only twice and led the country three times (2011-12, 2015-16 and 2018-19). ✦ 2019-20 NOTRE DAME MEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent (TV) Result/Time (ET) Nov. 6 at North Carolina* L, 76-65 Nov. 9 Robert Morris^ W, 92-57 Nov. 12 Howard^ W, 79-50 Nov. 15 Marshall^ W, 74-64 Nov. 18 Presbyterian W, 63-53 Nov. 21 Toledo^ W, 64-62 (OT) Nov. 26 Fairleigh Dickinson W, 91-66 Dec. 4 at Maryland# (ESPN/2) 7:15 p.m. Dec. 7 Boston College* (ESPN2/U) 7 p.m. Dec. 10 Detroit Mercy 7 p.m. Dec. 14 UCLA 7 p.m. Dec. 21 vs. Indiana& 2 p.m. Dec. 29 Alabama A&M 7 p.m. Jan. 4 at Syracuse* (ESPN2/U) 4 p.m. Jan. 8 at NC State* (ESPN2/U) 7 p.m. Jan. 11 Louisville* (ESPN) 2 p.m. Jan. 15 at Georgia Tech* (ACCN) 8:30 p.m. Jan. 22 Syracuse* (ESPN/2/U) 7 p.m. Jan. 25 at Florida State* (TBA) 12 p.m. Jan. 29 Wake Forest* (ACCN) 9 p.m. Feb. 1 Georgia Tech* (RSN) 12 p.m. Feb. 5 Pittsburgh* (ACCN) 6:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at Clemson* (ACCN) 6 p.m. Feb. 11 at Virginia* (ESPN2/U) 9 p.m. Feb. 15 at Duke* (TBA) 4 p.m. Feb. 17 North Carolina* (ESPN) 7 p.m. Feb. 23 Miami* (ACCN) 6 p.m. Feb. 26 at Boston College* (ACCN) 9 p.m. Feb. 29 at Wake Forest* (RSN) 4 p.m. Mar. 4 Florida State* (ESPN2/U) 9 p.m. Mar. 7 Virginia Tech* (ACCN) TBA Mar. 10-14 ACC Tournament$ (ACCN/ESPN) TBA * ACC game; ^ Men Against Breast Cancer Invi- tational; # ACC/Big Ten Challenge; & Crossroads Classic at Indianapolis; $ at Greensboro, N.C.; ACCN — ACC Network Three-Point Play 1. Good As Glue Notre Dame fifth-year senior guard Rex Pflueger has never been one to stuff the stat sheet. Pflueger's value, instead, comes through versatility, and often, in his instinctual and clutch plays that don't always show up in a box score. As Pflueger continues to gain stamina and confidence after reconstructive knee surgery last Decem- ber, his production is climbing as well. In a 91-66 win over Fairleigh Dickinson Nov. 26, this Irish team captain recorded 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists. "I was in my game doing a little bit of everything," Pflueger said afterward. "My knee is getting pro- gressively healthier as the games go on, and I'm learning how to use my body again." 2. Finding Their Target Through its first six games this season, an Irish team supposedly built on its sharp-shooting ranked 13th out of the 15 ACC teams in three-pointers made at 29.0 percent. That effort ranked 288th nation- ally among 350 Division I teams. Notre Dame looked more itself against Fairleigh Dickinson — which won an NCAA Tournament game last year — going 12 of 25 (48.0 percent) from three-point range in a 25-point win. "We threw a couple of shots in. It's good to see us make some good ones," Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said afterward. 3. Join The Club With his five assists against Fairleigh Dickinson, Irish senior guard T.J. Gibbs eclipsed the 300-assist mark for his career, becoming the 13th Notre Dame player to reach that milestone in the 20 years Brey has coached here. With 303 assists for his career, Gibbs ranks 21st all time at Notre Dame. — Todd D. Burlage Fifth-year senior Rex Pflueger tallied 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists in Notre Dame's 91-66 win over Fairleigh Dickinson Nov. 26. PHOTO BY COREY BODDEN

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