Notre Dame basketball found a way to push past early adversity in a rout of Chicago State, starting the season 2-0.
With an 89-62 victory, it’s hard to say there was any adversity here for Notre Dame basketball in a game that they would have never been doubted to win. But, the final box score lacks the guts of the story and the issues Notre Dame had to deal with.
The Irish showed improvements from the season opener right away. It was no longer a question that the Irish could shoot the three. It was lights out from the tip.
The first two shots from the Irish came from beyond the arc and influenced the next few minutes of play. Nine minutes into the game, Notre Dame had jumped out to a 28-10 lead, playing exactly like they were expected.
Then the story flipped as Notre Dame all of the sudden was unable to hit a shot. The offensive game went stale.
Shooting 2-of-15 for a stretch, a very young Mike Brey-led team was lost. Freshman Prentiss Hubb went to the foul line and missed both shots, illustrating the frustration of Notre Dame’s offensive woes during that stretch.
Notre Dame will need leadership throughout the season. Thursday, it came from Elijah Burns. Burns led by example in the second half with a jumper to get things started and an emphatic dunk in the midst of four straight field goals.
Notre Dame was able to find success by getting to the basket and Nate Laszewski drained a three to end the half and the Irish went to the break counting their blessings, leading 40-35.
Defensive stops swayed the offensive game and Notre Dame displayed the talent that they had all along.
Burns changed the game with his performance and it paid off well with ten of his 15-points on the night coming in the second half to lead the team. The freshman Laszewski accompanied D.J. Harvey and Temple Gibbs as the double-digit scorers for the Irish.
Brey’s squad realized that this season will be a journey with a young roster. Tonight they faced adversity well, shaking off a poor first half with a dominant second.