09 Dec 2021 | 06:53 | Basketball
SOUTH BEND, Ind.—CSUN Men’s Basketball fell to Notre Dame 68-52 on Saturday at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. Atin Wright led the Matadors in scoring with 12 points while Darius Brown II and Onyi Eyisi added nine points apiece. The Matadors battled Notre Dame throughout the contest and trailed by six points in the early minutes of the second half before the Fighting Irish pulled away for the double-digit victory.
CSUN shot 43.8 percent for the game while Notre Dame rode a hot-shooting second half (61.9 percent) to finish with a 49.0 field goal percentage. The Matadors made 6-of-12 from 3-point range and 4-of-6 from the free throw line. Notre Dame knocked down 11-of-27 from downtown (40.7 percent) and went 9-of-14 at the free throw line (64.3 percent). The Fighting Irish held a narrow edge in rebounding, 30-26. Points in the paint was even at 22-22.
After hitting their first two field goals, the Matadors made two of their next nine attempts to fall behind in the early minutes. Notre Dame surged in front with a 10-2 run to turn a one-point lead to nine at 18-9. Wright helped keep the Matadors within striking distance with hot shooting from long range. The 6-1 sophomore made 4-of-5 from 3-point range in the first half and totaled 12 points.
Wright knocked down a 3-pointer at the 5:54 mark that pulled CSUN to within five before Darius Brown II trimmed the deficit further to 22-19 on a mid-range jump shot. Notre Dame though stayed in front thanks to 13 first-half points from Blake Wesley who also went 3-of-3 from long range. Brown drained two late free throws to trim the Notre Dame lead to 32-26 at the break. After a slow start, the Matadors shot 40.0 percent for the half compared to the Fighting Irish who finished at a 39.3 percent clip.
Out of the intermission, Miles Brookins scored back-to-back baskets in the paint to bring CSUN to within four points (34-30). The Matadors had two opportunities to make it a one-possession game when Wright and Brown took 3-point shots but each was off the mark. Notre Dame stretched the lead back to nine points after a mid-range jumper from Trey Wertz before Elijah Hardy answered with a trey of his own.
After Hardy’s 3-pointer brought CSUN to within six, Notre Dame went on a 7-0 run to quickly push the lead 46-33. Darius Beane ended the scoring run with a bucket but Notre Dame scored 11 of the next 13 points. Wesley capped an 18-4 run with a dunk as the lead swelled to 57-37 with 6:59 left to play. Eyisi made it a 15-point game on a traditional 3-point play but the Matadors were unable to draw closer the rest of the way.
Wright finished 4-of-6 from 3-point range in a team-high 34 minutes. Eyisi would make 4-of-6 from the field and added a rebound. Brookins, who was limited to 10 minutes due to foul trouble, had eight points to go with two rebounds.
Brown had three assists, three rebounds and two steals in 31 minutes of action. The 6-2 senior has recorded at least one assist in 90-straight games.
For Notre Dame, Wesley had a game-high 21 points while Goodwin added 18 points.
COACH TRENT JOHNSON SAID
“From start to finish, I thought we competed at a high level, we guarded the ball, and from that standpoint we were much better. Again, there was a five-minute period where they made plays because number one, they are well-coached. Number two, they are experienced and played against high-level competition in practice and in games. So their experience factor and their ability to play hurt us there. When that was going on, I thought we did a good job of staying the course.
I thought we did some good things, and they are hurting right now, and they should be because they competed at a high level versus an ACC team on the road. We just have to get back and string together some good practices and get some guys back that are injured so we can get whole and play better at both ends of the court.”
CSUN opens its home schedule Nov. 19 for the start of the Good Sam Empire Classic. The Matadors will host Eastern Washington on day one of the tournament at 2 p.m. Ghizal Hasan and Alan Zinsmeister will be on the call on ESPN+ and GoMatadors.com/Radio.