Renewed focus on D keys Virginia win at Notre Dame

jay huff defense

UVA’s Jay Huff and Reece Beekman thwart a rim run from Notre Dame’s Trey Wertz. Photo courtesy Atlantic Coast Conference.

OK, so, the bad. Nate Laszewski lit up the UVA defense for 28 points, and Juwan Durham had 19, and each had 11 shots from the field.

They did their best to mimic Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert and Drew Timme.

The difference Wednesday night in South Bend: nobody else did anything significant for the Irish.

“In the postgame I talked about weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down. Our young guys, they don’t know what a weeble wobble is, but all of us do. I think we got wobbling a few times. You got to right the ship and get back up,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said after his team’s 66-57 win at Notre Dame Wednesday night.

Laszewski and Durham had their 47 on 22 shots.

Their ‘mates: 10 points on 23 shots.

Starting point guard Prentiss Hubb, who came in averaging a team-best 16.4 points per game, had four, on 1-of-8 shooting.

Dane Goodwin had averaged 16.1 a game on 51.9 percent shooting, 44 percent from three.

Goodwin’s stat line Wednesday night: five points, 2-of-8 from the floor.

Cormac Ryan was a 10.3 points-per-game guy: he got bubkus (0-of-4 from the floor in 28 minutes).

The two numbers that mean the most: the Irish were 5-of-20 from three (the ‘Zags had gone 10-of-20), and Notre Dame was 7-of-13 on shots at the rim (Gonzaga made 21 shots at the rim in 29 attempts).

“Yeah, we definitely made a step in the right direction,” forward Sam Hauser said. “Gonzaga really exposed us on that end of the floor. That didn’t leave a good taste in our mouth, so we took that personally, and it showed tonight. We played pretty well on the defensive end. Obviously there’s still some things to clean up, but definitely improvement, for sure.”

“I think we could still improve,” said point guard Kihei Clark, who was responsible for the ugly stat line for Hubb.

“I think there were times where we did make a couple mistakes, but that’s going to happen. I think defensively we did take a step in the right direction tonight,” Clark said.

Bennett, he’s a coach, he’s going to find the things in a win that need to be improved upon.

“Durham and Laszewski hurt us. We’ve had some trouble, we got to kind of shore up guarding some of these guys that are the good fours and fives and do the job,” the coach said afterward. “But enough good plays defensively and offensively. Still some breakdowns, but hopefully we’ll keep getting better. It was kind of everyone chipping in, and that’s how it’ll have to be with this team.”

Story by Chris Graham


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