Notre Dame forced Fairleigh Dickinson to miss its first 18 shots from the field to trigger a 91-66 nonconference victory on Tuesday night at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Indiana.
Six players scored in double figures for the Fighting Irish (6-1), who capped a perfect six-game, 18-day home stand. Senior power forward John Mooney delivered his 25th double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds while sophomore forward Nate Laszewski paced the Irish with 16 points in 17 minutes off the bench.
Fairleigh Dickinson (1-5) wrapped up its five-game road trip with its fifth straight loss despite a game-high 17 points from junior guard Xzavier Malone-Key. Senior forward Kaleb Bishop added 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Knights played without junior point guard Jahlil Jenkins, a unanimous pick on the Northeast Conference’s preseason all-league team, for the second game in a row.
Senior guard T.J. Gibbs drilled a pair of 3-pointers on Notre Dame’s first two shots to set the tone at the offensive end. The Irish extended their lead to 13-0 just 4:44 into the game as Mooney knocked in a jumper, fifth-year senior guard Rex Pflueger cashed a 3-pointer and senior center Juwan Durham added a short jumper.
Notre Dame pushed its lead to 21-2 while Fairleigh Dickinson misfired on its first 18 shots. Freshman guard Brandon Rush (10 points) finally broke the seal on the rim with a layup at the 10:03 mark of the first half.
The Fighting Irish remained comfortably ahead until the waning seconds of the first half as Fairleigh Dickinson swiftly made up for lost time. The Knights reeled off a 12-2 run over 1 minute, 50 seconds and pulled within 39-30 on redshirt freshman forward Marc Dadika’s 3-pointer with 54 seconds left in the half.
Fairleigh Dickinson lingered within 10 to 12 points in the second half until the Fighting Irish used an 8-0 sprint to take the game’s biggest lead, 60-40, with 11:51 to go. Goodwin started the spree with a 3-pointer and Pflueger added an acrobatic layup during the run.
—Field Level Media