Highlights: Notre Dame Beats Purdue, Loses Pflueger

Notre Dame played its most complete 40 minutes of basketball on Saturday giving Irish fans a glimpse of what this young team is capable of when they start hitting on all cylinders. Any optimism from their 88-80 win over Purdue in the Crossroads Classic, however, was clouded by the news of what appears to be a major injury for senior guard Rex Pflueger.  With 5:35 remaining, Pflueger fell to the ground grabbing his knee and the fear is that it’s his ACL and he will be done for the year and his Irish career.

Despite the potentially devastating injury to Pflueger, the Irish had encouraging performances from John Mooney who scored a career high 21 points, DJ Harvey who tied his career high with 19 points, and freshman Dane Goodwin who chipped in 11 off the bench.

Prior to the injury, Pflueger had easily the best game of his season and one of the better games of his career with a career high 10 assists as he facilitated the Irish offense much of the day.

Notre Dame lost Robby Carmody to season ending surgery earlier this week and Elijah Burns to transfer earlier this season.

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  1. Good to see the Irish beat a pretty decent team in Purdue. It’d be nice if they use the next 3 ‘tune-up’ games to hone their skills better and get ready for ACC competition. The potential is there that they could surprise people if they continue to improve. Losing Pflueger would be bad news though for the Irish. While his shooting has been up and down there’s no denying his defensive contributions and his ability to move the ball around. And just the leadership he brings (though I’m sure he’ll still be rooting from the sidelines so he’ll still be able to bring a little of that at least).

    1. I doubt it. I think he probably played too many games this year to be eligible (though I’m not sure how that works exactly with basketball–but I haven’t heard of any possibility that he could come back so I’d say he’s done this year).

  2. I feel bad for Rex. He was carving out a niche for himself. If his shot was falling he contributed points. If not he was a great facilitator. A tough loss for sure.

    This opens the door for Nik Djogo to get the minutes that Goodwin was getting assuming that Dane gets Rex’s minutes. He’s been an enigmatic player. I’ve read great things about how he performs in practice but that it hasn’t transferred to game action. Weather he gets nervous, is looking over his shoulder, or is playing out of position I hope he can figure it out. He can really help the program move forward if he is able.

    The last thing they need is for one or two players to put pressure on themselves to think they have to produce more. Everyone has to fill the void and everyone is capable of contributing. They’ve shown it.

    The numbers don’t lie. ND had 20 assists on 26 Field Goals. They were driving into the paint and getting better shots. They shot 3 for 15 from the arc in the first half against UCLA but 4 for 9 against Purdue. They shot 5 for 10 in the second half at UCLA and 7 for 12 against Purdue. Getting into the paint, more ball movement, more patience, and better shot selection are the keys.

    Gibbs and Hubb need to play less one-on-one. I liked Gibbs’ three point shot selection. He shot 3 for 5 and the two he missed were good open shots in rhythm with feet set. None were quick and one went in and out. He needs to kick the ball out when he drives though. Once in the first half he drove and put up a difficult hook when Harvey was wide open behind the arc in the corner in rhythm with his feet set. He should have kicked the ball out Then in the second half he got frustrated when he drove one-on-two or three and didn’t get calls when he initiated the contact. I think he’ll find that if he kicks out the defense won’t be so quick to collapse and he’ll get better shots and draw contact.

    The same is true for Hubb who drove one-on-three, initiated contact and complained about the no-call. He also took two quick threes with plenty of time on the shot clock.

    Harvey had a great game. He shot a very efficient 6 for 10 and only took one quick three early in the second half. Perhaps if Gibbs had kicked out to him in the first half he wouldn’t have taken it.

    Durham had an up and down game. He showed great touch, blocked two shots and drove three quarters of the court on a steal and drew contact. He also committed three fouls reaching for shots and was out of position to rebound. Purdue killed ND on the glass.

    I had no idea that Mooney would be this good at the 5. I thought of him a strictly a perimeter player. Last year he rebounded with one hand and had several ripped away from him late in the key home loss against Miami in March. This year he rebounds with two hands.

    Goodwin has been growing a lot and had a solid game off the bench. Laszewski also refrained from quick threes.

    I wonder if Goodwin gets Rex’s minutes or if Brey goes big sometimes with Mooney and Durham and possibly Laszewski. As much as a loss as Rex is it opens the door to a lot of possible line-ups and player development.

  3. Rex was great team leader. Dishing out so many assists left and right. He showed the younger players how it is done. I think He was already playing injured.

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