While Notre Dame football’s season is nearly finished, the men’s basketball season has just begun.
The Fighting Irish made quick work of Cal State Northridge in their season opener in South Bend, Ind., on Saturday, producing a 68-52 win over the Matadors.
Next up, Notre Dame plays host to High Point on Tuesday evening for the first matchup between the programs.
Notre Dame had noticeable struggles last season but looked sharp against the Matadors, shooting 49 percent from the field and 40.7 percent from 3-point range.
Freshman Blake Wesley led the way for the Fighting Irish with 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field and 4-of-6 shooting from long distance in his first college game.
Two other Fighting Irish players scored in double figures, too: Dane Goodwin, who had 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc and Paul Atkinson Jr., who had 16 points.
“We came into this game knowing it was going to be a battle,” Goodwin said. “It was great to see us pull away in the second half. We played older, we played at our own tempo, we dictated what we wanted to do, and I think that’s important for us moving forward.”
The Panthers faltered in their first test against a Power 5 school, losing 96-60 at Northwestern on Friday. The Wildcats had one of their best offensive halves in program history, scoring 61 points after halftime.
High Point kept it close in the first half, trailing by just one at the break, but couldn’t compete with the offensive onslaught that followed in the final 20 minutes.
“I thought we played a good first half, we were executing, we were limited in our bench strength, and I thought that caught up with us in the second half,” High Point coach Tubby Smith said.
Among the positives the Panthers took from the game was a 23-point, nine-assist performance from John-Michael Wright, one of three Panthers to score in double figures in the loss.
“We have a lot to evaluate, playing against a Big Ten team like Northwestern we knew it would be a challenge,” Smith said. “If anyone saw the first half, they saw what we are capable of.”
–Field Level Media