Notre Dame Escapes At Home Against Winless Coppin State, 63-56
Click HERE to sign up for an annual subscription to BlueAndGold.com and get your FREE gift code for $99 in Irish apparel and gear!
Notre Dame (10-3) needed a second-half comeback on Saturday afternoon to defeat winless Coppin State (0-15) at home.
The Eagles led by nine (47-38) with under 10 minutes to play before the Irish finished the game on a 25-9 run to avoid the major upset.
Blue & Gold Illustrated recaps the Notre Dame victory half-by-half.
It wasn’t the start offensively Mike Brey and company were looking for in the opening minutes against Coppin State.
The Irish hit just three of their first nine attempts, including miss all four three-point field goals, but the team still was able to lead 6-3 going into the under-16 media timeout (15:13). Junior forward Juwan Durham scored four quick points to get into the flow early.
Notre Dame got a three-pointer right out of the break from guard TJ Gibbs to open up a 9-3 lead, but the Eagles responded with back-to-back triples from guard Dejuan Clayton to tie the game at nine apiece.
Forwards John Mooney and Nate Laszewski both drilled three-pointers, which sandwiched a Coppin State bucket to put Notre Dame up 15-11 with 12:23 remaining.
Laszewski followed with another three-pointer for a personal 6-0 run to push the Irish lead to 18-11. The freshman’s back-to-back triples were the start of a 13-2 run for Notre Dame to take a 25-13 lead with 7:40 remaining in the opening half.
DJ Harvey connected on a step-back mid-range jumper, which was followed by an offensive rebound and putback from freshman guard Dane Goodwin while being fouled and a dunk from Mooney off a nice assist via Durham.
After a slow start, Notre Dame made five of their six attempts during the run to get back on track.
An 8-2 run kept the Eagles within striking distance after buckets from Clayton, Council, Nigel Marshall and Justin Steers at 27-21 with 2:49 left.
Coppin State continued to close the half out strong with a 6-2 spurt over the final two-plus minutes to trail just 29-27 heading into the break.
Laszewski led all Irish scorers with six points while Gibbs, Mooney and Harvey each had five points. Notre Dame hit 11-of-27 (40.7 percent) from the field and just 4-of-15 (26.7 percent) behind the arc.
If the first half was a struggle, the opening minutes of the second half were on another level.
Notre Dame opened the final 20 minutes 1-of-9 from the floor, which allowed Coppin State to take a 34-31 lead with 15:41 remaining.
The Eagles trailed 31-28 after a layup from Goodwin before guard Lamar Morgan and Clayton hit back-to-back three-pointers to take the three-point lead going into the under-16 media timeout.
Notre Dame continued to struggle from the field making one of their next four attempts, a Goodwin three-pointer, while the Eagles pushed their lead to 42-36 with 12:48 left after a Council layup.
Clayton made it 44-36 Eagles before Goodwin ended an 0-for-12 drought by making a making jumper to put the Irish down 44-38 with 11:11 remaining.
Council drilled a three-pointer to put the Eagles up 47-38 with under 10 minutes to play. But, then the Irish found their spark.
Notre Dame reeled off a 6-0 to close the gap a bit (47-44) before Morgan hit a jumper to put his team back up five.
Four-straight free throws closed the Irish deficit to 49-48 (Gibbs and Mooney) before finding their mark from the field. Notre Dame would hit four-straight shots, including three three-pointers (Gibbs, Goodwin and Mooney) to take a 59-51 lead with just under five minutes to play.
Coppin State was able to close the deficit to 59-56, but couldn’t get back over the hump with Notre Dame claiming a 63-56 win over the Eagles.
Gibbs led the Irish with 15 points while Mooney added 14 points and eight rebounds. Goodwin notched 13 points and six rebounds to go with Durham’s six points and 10 rebounds. The Irish shot 33.9 percent (20-of-59) from the field and 30 percent (9-of-30) behind the arc to allow Coppin State to almost pull the upset.