SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Reserve Nate Laszewski led six Notre Dame players in double figures with 16 points in a 91-66 runaway victory over Fairleigh Dickinson Tuesday.
Fellow reserve Dane Goodwin had 15 points and John Mooney had his fourth double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds as Mike Brey’s Fighting Irish (6-1) won their sixth straight since their 76-65 opening-game Atlantic Coast Conference loss at No. 6 North Carolina. Juwan Durham scored 12 points, T.J. Gibbs had 11 points and Rex Pflueger added 10 for the Irish, who shot 51% from the field and had 24 assists on their 32 baskets, 12 from 3-point range.
Coach Greg Herenda’s Knights (1-5) lost their fifth straight despite a game-high 17 points from Xzavier Malone-Key. Brandon Rush, Kaleb Bishop and Elyjah Williams had 10 each for FDU, which was never in it from the start.
Notre Dame jumped out to a 13-0 lead hitting five of its first seven shots before Herenda called a timeout with 15:14 left as his team missed its first eight shots.
The Irish continued to grow the lead to 19 points, 21-2, before FDU’s Brandon Rush drove the lane with 10:03 left to stop a 0-for-18 basket drought for the Knights, who hit 11 of their final 19.
Despite going 2:54 without a point and 5:42 without a basket, the Irish led 42-30 at halftime after the Knights closed the half on a 17-12 run over the final 4:41. In the first half, Gibbs, whose first two baskets were 3-pointers, finished with eight points along with reserve Goodwin while Mooney had seven points with eight rebounds. Rush led all scorers with nine points for the Knights.
Notre Dame took a 20-point lead on Juwan Durham’s free throw with 11:51 to go and cruised from there. The biggest Irish lead was 27 points late.
Fairleigh Dickinson: The woeful shooting start by the Knights, who won the Northeast Conference regular-season and tournament titles to earn an NCAA bid, doomed them from the start. That’s not a good harbinger of things for FDU’s next road excursion Dec. 7 at No. 9 Kentucky.
Notre Dame: The Irish, who entered the game shooting 40.3 from the field (298th among the 351 Division I teams), took a step in the right direction in the first half by hitting 52 percent (15 of 29), including 54 percent from the 3-point line, where they were 29 percent (288th) coming in.
Fairleigh Dickinson: The Knights return home to play Quinnipiac Tuesday before their visit to Kentucky.
Notre Dame: The Irish play for the first time on the road since their opening 76-65 ACC loss at No. 9 North Carolina when they visit No. 5 Maryland in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge next Wednesday.