Notre Dame Survives Hot Shooting UW-Milwaukee 86-78


True to their moniker, the No. 18 Notre Dame Fighting Irish had a fight on their hands against the UW-Milwaukee Panthers. Whether or not the Irish expected such a battle remains to be seen, but for the fans in attendance it was an exciting game to the end.

Notre Dame was well matched on Tuesday night against the UW-Milwaukee Panthers. It was a night of grit-and-guts for both sides. UW-Milwaukee entered Purcell Pavillion with an upset on their minds and gave the Irish a run for their money.

It was an efficient night for both programs as each team shot at or better than 50 percent from the floor.The Panthers were hot from the perimeter shooting 66.7% from the arc connecting on 14 of 21 3-point shots. Despite their firepower, they were unable to muster a late rally to win as Notre Dame prevailed 86-78.

Two of the team’s three leading scorers are ranked in the Wooden Award Top 50; Demetrius Jackson and Zach AugusteNotre Dame was led in scoring once again by Jackson who followed his 27-point career night on Friday with another 20 point performance against UW-Milwaukee. Jackson had a solid night filling the stat sheet with 20 points 7 assists and 3 rebounds.

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Zach Auguste struggled offensively in the first half shooting 1-of-3 for 2 points and 2 rebounds. Auguste bounced back with a 15 point second half. In total Auguste had 17 points and 6 rebounds on the night.

V.J. Beachem is my early candidate for the Irish’s most improved player he averaged 5.9-points and 1.4 rebounds last season.

In the first two games of the 2015-16 season, Beachem is averaging 12.5 points and 6 rebounds per game. He had the hot hand for the Irish tonight as he tallied 19 points and 8 rebounds while making his impact felt on both ends of the floor. Including this coast-to-coast steal-and-finish by Beachem:

Game Summary

The first half was a tightly matched until the Panther took the lead midway through the first half. Milwaukee stretched the lead to six, at  29-23, following a three-pointer by Panthers Austin Arians. Just when it looked as if Milwaukee could maintain their momentum heading into halftime, the Fighting Irish came storming back. Sparked by a three from VJ Beachum at the 4:21 mark that regained the lead at 30-29, Notre Dame closed out the first half on a 16-2 run.

The Irish opened the second half with momentum still in their favor hitting 10 of their first 11 shot. With the offense clicking, Notre Dame stretched their lead to as much as 19, at 62-43 in the second half with a 23-12 run and by 16 with ten minutes remaining. The Panthers refused to go away though cut the lead to nine at 70-61 with 6:42 remaining but never got any closer than within eight points as the Irish held on to win the game.

Play of the Night: (Tie)

There were several big plays on the game that were noteworthy, but there were two that really stuck out from the rest. On for its ‘wow’ factor and the other for the near-perfect execution on the play. The first nominee for play of the night is so good I have to agree with @NDmbb it needs to be on ESPN’s SportsCenter Top-10.

Exhibit A:

The may only be a textbook pick-and-roll between Auguste and Jackson, but it was perfectly executed. That play does not work if Jackson doesn’t put the right spin on the bounce pass that leads to the sweet finish at the rim by Auguste. The Irish used the P&R again and again on the night with great success.

Exhibit B

Next up, The Irish will tip-off next on Saturday, November 21st at 2:00 pm EST. Notre Dame (2-0) will be hosting the UMass-Lowell River Hawks (0-1) of the America East Conference.

Next: Hoosiers Knock Off the Governors

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