SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP)Nate Laszewski scored 28 points to match his career high, Cormac Ryan hit a go-ahead shot with 9 seconds left and Notre Dame rallied to beat Radford 79-76 in its season opener on Thursday night.
Notre Dame trailed 69-64 with 5:19 remaining, but Laszewski scored 10 points from there and Ryan’s driving layup helped Fighting Irish coach Mike Brey remain unbeaten in home openers, 23-0. Notre Dame is 21-2 in season openers under Brey.
The Irish took a 40-39 lead into halftime, but Madiaw Niang and Kenyon Giles had three-point plays in a 12-2 run to open the second half and Radford moved in front 51-42 with 13:22 remaining.
Notre Dame didn’t regain the lead until Dane Goodwin sank two free throws with 3:21 left for a 72-71 advantage. Josiah Jeffers scored back-to-back buckets and the Highlanders regained the lead 75-72. A Laszewski layup and 1 of 2 free throws from JJ Starling pulled Notre Dame within 76-75 with 46 seconds to go.
Smith missed a layup for Radford, Laszewski grabbed the rebound and Ryan scored in the paint to give the Irish the lead for good.
Trey Wertz had 18 points for Notre Dame, while Ryan scored 10. Laszewski had a game-high 12 rebounds, all on the defensive end.
Giles had 20 points to top the Highlanders (0-2). Smith added 18 points, while Jeffers scored 13.
The Irish are the only Power-5 team with six players earning Master’s Degrees on the roster, making it Brey’s most experienced team at Notre Dame.
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