Notre Dame meets Western Michigan with eye on .500

National Sports

Notre Dame finds itself in an unfamiliar spot at this point in the season, heading into its last two nonconference games of the month with a losing record.

The Fighting Irish can get back to .500 with a home victory against Western Michigan on Monday and rise above that mark against Texas A&M Corpus Christi at home Wednesday.

Notre Dame (4-5) has lost four of its last five games, but the last two outings were encouraging. It upset No. 10 Kentucky 66-62 on Dec. 11 before falling to Indiana 64-56 on Saturday.

The Fighting Irish trailed the Hoosiers by 10 points with 11 minutes to go, rallied to tie it with 6:50 remaining but got outscored 17-9 the rest of the way.

“I love the fact we put ourselves in position after taking a big punch in the first 10 minutes of the second half,” Irish coach Mike Brey said. “They really defended us. They’re athletic and they turned us over. We had our chances in a road atmosphere early in the season. There’s some things we can build off of and there’s some things we need to do better.”

Dane Goodwin had a team-high 15 points on Saturday and leads the Irish at 14.3 points per-game.

Western Michigan (4-6) tuned up for its matchup with Notre Dame on Friday with a 67-56 win over Aquinas College, an NAIA side based in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The Broncos overcame 2-of-17 shooting from 3-point range and made assists on just three of 23 field goals. They did make 19 of 23 free throws.

“It was a weird night in some ways,” Western Michigan coach Clayton Bates said. “I don’t think we took bad shots. We had some open looks, they just didn’t go in. It’s hard to get assists when you’re missing shots. And you don’t get assists on free throws. Sometimes, there’s an anomaly in those stats.”

Lamar Norman Jr., who averages a team-best 18.4 points per-game, led the way with 19 points. Mack Smith contributed 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Western Michigan wasn’t competitive in its previous two games against Power Five opponents. Michigan State defeated the Broncos 90-46 on Nov. 12 and Iowa overpowered them 109-61 on Nov. 22. Their other victories came against Division III Hope College, Purdue Fort Wayne and Southeastern Louisiana.

–Field Level Media

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