December 29, 2018 / 7:24 PM / 5 months ago

Notre Dame escapes upset attempt by Coppin State

Host Notre Dame escaped the upset attempt by winless Coppin State, prevailing 63-56 on Saturday afternoon.

Coppin State (0-15) led by as many as eight points with 12:24 left in the game before Notre Dame (10-3) rallied.

Notre Dame, which has won four games in a row, was led by junior point guard T.J. Gibbs, who had 15 points and a game-high five assists despite shooting just 4 of 16 from the floor.

The Irish also got six points, 10 rebounds and a game-high six blocks from 6-11 junior Juwan Durham, a Connecticut transfer; 14 points from junior forward John Mooney; and 13 points from freshman reserve guard Dane Goodwin.

Notre Dame committed just five turnovers. Last season, the Irish ranked seventh in the nation in fewest turnovers with 9.9 per game.

However, the Irish shot just 33.9 percent from the floor. Only seven Notre Dame players scored, including three freshmen.

Coppin State was led by sophomore guard Dejuan Clayton (team-high 15 points). Senior forward Cedric Council, the reigning MEAC Defensive Player of the Week, added 12 points and a game-high 17 rebounds.

The Eagles, coached by former Maryland All-American guard Juan Dixon, lost their first 17 games last season before finishing 5-21.

This season, Coppin State has played the second-toughest non-conference schedule in the nation, according to ESPN’s BPI formula.

In fact, this was the final non-conference game of the season for both teams, and Notre Dame led by as many as 12 points early. But Coppin State closed the first half on a 14-4 run, cutting Notre Dame’s lead to 29-27 at the break.

Clayton led all scorers in the first half with eight points as Coppin State shot just 37.9 percent from the floor but had a 22-16 rebounding edge, including 7-4 on the offensive glass.

Notre Dame shot 40.7 percent from the floor and made just 4 of 15 on three-pointers and 3 of 6 from the foul line.

The Irish continued to misfire in the second half as Coppin State used a 14-5 run to take a 42-36 lead, forcing Notre Dame to take a timeout with 12:48 left.

Notre Dame rallied, however. Gibbs’ three-pointer with 6:53 left gave Notre Dame a 51-49 lead, and the Irish never trailed again.

—Field Level Media

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