Notre Dame adds 2018 four-star forward Nate Laszewski

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Notre Dame pulled in its fourth commitment in the Class of 2018 on Wednesday as four-star forward Nate Laszewski pledged to the Fighting Irish.

The 6-foot-9 Laszewski is regarded as the No. 69 overall prospect in the Rivals national rankings as he’s the highest-rated prospect of the four currently pledged to Notre Dame. After a productive spring and summer on the circuit, Notre Dame is getting a hard-working forward in Laszewski, who also took official visits to Wake Forest and North Carolina.

Skilled enough to stretch the floor a little bit, Laszewski will try to help replace the production of forward Bonzie Colson, who will be exhausting his eligibility after this season.

Laszewski joins four-star guards Prentiss Hubb, Robby Carmody and Dane Goodwin in Notre Dame’s Class of 2018 haul as

Notre Dame adds Class of 2018 shooter Dane Goodwin

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Notre Dame added to its strong perimeter contingent in the Class of 2018 on Wednesday as the Fighting Irish added top-150 recruit Dane Goodwin.

A former Ohio State commit, the 6-foot-4 Goodwin is regarded as one of the best perimeter shooters in the class as he gives Notre Dame another floor spacer for head coach Mike Brey’s offense. Rivals currently places Goodwin as the No. 123 overall player in the national Class of 2018 rankings while other prominent services have Goodwin as high as four-star status.

The commitment of Goodwin is also intriguing for the Irish since they also own commitments from four-star guards Prentiss Hubb and Robby Carmody. While Hubb will likely run point among that group, Carmody will be the rugged guard who does a bit of everything while Goodwin will be counted on for spacing the floor as a shooter. The three- and four-guard lineup is something that Brey has worked well with the last few seasons, so it appears that he’s following a similar recipe with this class.

 

Notre Dame grabs UConn transfer Juwan Durham

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Notre Dame had landed a transfer big man as former UConn forward Juwan Durham made his commitment to the Fighting Irish official on Saturday morning.

The 6-foot-11 Durham is a former four-star recruit who just finished his freshman season with the Huskies. Durham never established consistent minutes as he averaged 1.6 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. After missing back-to-back seasons with a torn ACL in both of his knees, it was just a positive sign that Durham was able to make it through his freshman season without major injury issues.

Durham will now get a year to sit out and recover even more as he’ll have three years of eligibility left at Notre Dame. It’ll be intriguing to see if Durham can ever regain the form that made him a five-star prospect at one point in high school, but he’ll have to stay healthy.

No. 8 Louisville holds off No. 19 Notre Dame

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Louisville avenged a loss from earlier this season on Saturday afternoon as they were able to hold off No. 19 Notre Dame for a 71-64 ACC home win.

The No. 8 Cardinals (24-7, 12-6) lost to Notre Dame earlier this season on the road but Louisville had much stronger overall play from its big men the second time around. Senior Mangok Mathiang stepped up and finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds–including six offensive boards–as the big man provided an interior presence that the Cardinals didn’t have in the first matchup between these two teams.

Louisville’s improved interior play helped them corral 16 offensive rebounds on Saturday afternoon as they outrebounded the Irish 44-27.

Donovan Mitchell paced Louisville with 20 points as the sophomore guard bounced back from a subpar outing in a loss to Wake Forest earlier this week. Junior guard Quentin Snider also had a solid game for the Cardinals as he finished with 17 points and six assists.

Although sophomore forward Deng Adel struggled to a 2-for-8 night from the floor, he did knock down a key three-pointer to help make it a two-possession game as Notre Dame started to make a late rally.

This is a nice win for Louisville to end the regular season but this is still a tough team to get a read on as we inch closer to the NCAA tournament. The Cardinals have a number of talented perimeter options, and a solid stable of interior big men, but it is hard to say what their true ceiling is since so many of their players can have inconsistent day-to-day showings.

If Louisville makes a solid run in the ACC tournament they are going to be in position to be a potential No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. But even with that potentially great seed, it just feels like there hasn’t been very much national championship buzz for Louisville from a national standpoint, even though they sit so highly in the polls at this point in the season and college basketball doesn’t have a consensus national-title favorite.

Maybe Louisville should be happy to fly under-the-radar for this sort of thing. One thing is for certain: I wouldn’t want to face that defense in March.

As for Notre Dame, this loss snapped a six-game winning streak for the Irish (23-8, 12-6) as they did everything they could to make a late push in this one. Bonzie Colson paced Notre Dame with 20 points while V.J. Beachem (17 points) and Matt Farrell (11 points) also finished in double-figures.

Notre Dame’s struggles to find scoring outside of its core four (Colson, Beachem, Farrell and Steve Vasturia) has been well-documented and that issue again came to light on Saturday when Vasturia only finished with eight points. Since the Irish didn’t have much help from others to make up for Vasturia’s off-day they ended up playing from behind to close out the game.

This loss shouldn’t be seen as too big of a deal for Notre Dame either way. The Irish are a veteran team that knows what they need to do in order to win. It’ll simply come down to execution for Notre Dame as they ideally need those four guys playing at a high level to make another second-weekend run.

VIDEO: Josh Okogie’s buzzer-beating layup lifts Georgia Tech over No. 14 Notre Dame

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Freshman Josh Okogie made the game-winning layup at the buzzer as Georgia Tech stunned another ranked ACC opponent with a 62-60 home win over No. 14 Notre Dame on Saturday.

The Yellow Jackets (13-8, 5-4) have now picked off North Carolina, Clemson, Florida State and Notre Dame at home during ACC play as they’ve become a legitimate NCAA tournament contender in head coach Josh Pastner’s first season.

Okogie struggled to find his rhythm offensively and only finished with eight points, but he came through when Georgia Tech needed him the most as the Yellow Jackets continue to be a really tough out at home.

Georgia Tech was led by 25 points from guard Tadric Jackson while junior big man Ben Lammers added a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Notre Dame (17-5, 6-3) had a strong game from senior V.J. Beachem as he paced the Irish with 25 points — hitting multiple clutch three-pointers to help put Notre Dame back in the game. The Irish also had solid outings from Bonzie Colson (13 points, 13 rebounds) and Matt Farrell (15 points) but the rest of the team struggled to a 2-for-17 performance from the field.

This win will certainly put Georgia Tech in the NCAA tournament conversation now that they’ve earned three quality wins over ranked opponents in ACC play. There is still work to be done for the Yellow Jackets to make the big dance, but Pastner has to be considered the runaway ACC Coach of the Year and a major candidate to be national Coach of the Year.

Beachem’s career day leads No. 15 Irish over Syracuse

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) When V.J. Beachem gets to the rim, opportunities open up for him and No. 15 Notre Dame.

Midway through the first half Saturday against Syracuse, Beachem streaked along the baseline and threw down a thunderous two-handed dunk. Next trip down the court, there was Beachem again with another flush off a nifty behind-the-back pass from Matt Farrell.

Beachem decided to take it outside from there, banging home consecutive 3-pointers in a personal 10-2 run that broke things open for the Irish in an 84-66 victory over the Orange.

Beachem finished with a career-high 30 points for Notre Dame which snapped a four-game losing streak against Syracuse.

“The drive really opens up the outside shot for me,” Beachem said. “When you can get into the middle of the lane and make everybody look and collapse, that’s when the outside really opens up.”

Farrell added 15 points and nine assists for the Irish, who were coming off a three-point loss at No. 10 Florida State that stopped a seven-game winning streak.

“V.J. was fabulous,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “When we can get him flowing like that, it’s a confidence-giver to his teammates.”

On an unseasonably warm January day for Northern Indiana, with temperatures in the 50s, Notre Dame (17-3, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) was hot from outside, hitting 11 3-pointers against the Syracuse zone.

“We were really anxious to play against (the zone),” Beachem said. “The way we play offensively, we felt like we’d be fine against it.”

Beachem tied his career high with six 3s and added seven rebounds. He finished 12 of 22 from the field and his point total was the most by an Irish player since Bonzie Colson had 31 against Duke last season.

“Beachem, we just couldn’t get to him,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “He’s a tremendous shooter and we just didn’t get to him.”

Despite sitting much of the first half with foul trouble, Colson still finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds for his 12th double-double of the season. Steve Vasturia added 11 points.

Tyler Lydon had 24 points and 10 rebounds for Syracuse (11-9, 3-4). Tyus Battle added 17 points and Andrew White III had 16.

“We can’t win with just three guys against anybody,” Boeheim said. “We have to have more guys. I can’t even describe how disappointed I am in a couple guys on our team.”

After being outrebounded by 20 in a loss to North Carolina on Monday, the Orange were again beaten on the boards, 39-28. Syracuse also struggled from deep, going just 6 of 19 from 3-point range.

“I think our defense was really the key today,” Brey said.

Notre Dame took a 16-point lead early in the second half with a 9-0 run and led by double digits the rest of the way. Rex Pflueger’s 3 with just over 4 minutes left gave the Irish their largest lead of 22 points.

BIG PICTURE

Syracuse: The Orange are 0-5 on the road and have yet to beat a ranked team, after being ranked as high as No. 16 earlier in the season.

Notre Dame: The Irish have yet to lose consecutive games this season and figured out a response after dropping their first ACC game on Wednesday.

RING OF HONOR

Former All-America guard David Rivers was inducted into Notre Dame’s ring of honor at halftime. Rivers, who played from 1984-88, scored over 2,000 points in his career and was a first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1988.

Rivers, who comes from a family of 15 children in Jersey City, NJ, nearly died in a car accident in 1986, but came back and averaged 22 points per game in his final season at Notre Dame.

Former Notre Dame coach Digger Phelps has called Rivers the best player he’s ever coached.

“When I hear that, it’s humbling,” Rivers said before Saturday’s game. “I take it as one of the greatest compliments I could ever receive, and I just move on, because I’m familiar with some of these names that are up there (in the ring of honor) already. It’s just awesome company.”

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Following a close loss at No. 10 Florida State on Wednesday, the Irish don’t figure to slide much after keeping pace with the ACC’s top teams.

UP NEXT

Syracuse: The Orange return home for two, starting with Wake Forest on Tuesday before No. 10 Florida State visits on Saturday.

Notre Dame: The Irish host three of their next four, beginning with No. 16 Virginia on Tuesday.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25.