InsideNDSports - Notre Dame drops Clemson from deep in another road win
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Notre Dame drops Clemson from deep in another road win

Notre Dame's Dane Goodwin (23) shoots over Clemson's PJ Hall (24) in the second half of a 76-61 Irish victory at Clemson.
Notre Dame's Dane Goodwin (23) shoots over Clemson's PJ Hall (24) in the second half of a 76-61 Irish victory at Clemson. (Dawson Powers-USA TODAY Sports)

Clemson couldn't close the gap.

Seemingly every time the Tigers men's basketball team threatened to cut Notre Dame's lead to a manageable deficit, the Irish had an answer in the second half of a 76-61 road victory for Notre Dame (18-7, 11-3 ACC).

Notre Dame's ability to hit 3s allowed it to keep a comfortable lead in the second half that grew to as many as 17 points and was never fewer than seven Saturday night. The Irish made 54.2% (13-of-24) of their 3s and remained undefeated in 11 games this season when they make at least 10 3s.

Clemson (12-13, 4-10) struggled with its own shooting from deep in Littlejohn Coliseum. The Tigers shot just 27.8% (5-of-18) from 3 in their second loss of the season to the Irish.

Notre Dame freshman guard Blake Wesley made as many 3s on his own. He ignited a fast start for Notre Dame by scoring 18 points in the first nine minutes of the game. Wesley made only one shot in the second half — a 3-pointer, of course — but still finished with a game-high 21 points.

Senior guard Dane Goodwin made sure Notre Dame didn't squander its 38-28 halftime lead. He scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half. When the Tigers cut the lead to seven points with 8:25 left in the game, Goodwin scored the next five points to put Notre Dame back in a comfortable position. Then Wesley buried his second half 3 to up the lead 15 with 6:55 remaining.

Notre Dame held its seventh straight opponent to 65 points or less. Only Duke managed to beat Notre Dame, 57-43, during that span. The Irish committed just seven fouls against Clemson as the Tigers were left to rely on two-point field goals (21-of-43) against Notre Dame's combination of zone and man defense.

"We really challenged these older guys that we had to be better on the defensive end," head coach Mike Brey said in a postgame interview on ACC Network. "The hiring of (associate head coach) Anthony Solomon has really helped us. I've let him just be the bad cop every day coaching defense.

"Then we control tempo better with our little bit of predictable movement offensively. That's helped us too. It's an older group. They're feeling it at the right time year. It's been thrilling to watch them get better."

Senior guard Cormac Ryan started again in place of senior forward Nate Laszewski, who made his return from a bone bruise in his right leg. Laszewski didn't score in his 16 minutes of play, but he grabbed four rebounds in his first action since leaving the NC State game. Ryan hit 3-of-4 from 3 and finished with 13 points.

Notre Dame has won 14 of its last 16 games and continues to push for a regular season title in the ACC. The Irish kept pace with No. 7 Duke (21-4, 11-3), who beat Boston College on Saturday, to remain tied for first place in the conference. Notre Dame's done so by winning its last four road games in the ACC.

The Irish will host Boston College (9-14, 4-9) in Purcell Pavilion on Wednesday (7 p.m. EST on ESPN2 or ESPNU).



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