Bryant ripped off a 10-0 run halfway through the second frame to cut the University of Notre Dame’s lead to 12 points, but the Bulldogs wouldn’t get any closer, falling to the Irish, 84-59, at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
Sophomore Alex Francis put up an impressive performance, leading the game with 22 points off 10-of-22 shooting in 33 minutes of action. The outing marked the fourth 20-point game of the young, six-game season for the forward.
Junior Frankie Dobbs chipped in 13 points and team-best eight rebounds to compliment seven assists and two steals, while Corey Maynard recorded his third-straight double-digit point game with 11, also pulling in seven boards and dishing out four helpers on the day.
Down as many as 24 early in the second half, the Bulldogs (1-5) buckled down on defense and sent its shooters out to the perimeter early going the other way to build the 10-0 run over a 2:42 stretch that cut the Notre Dame (5-2) lead in half. The streak closed Bryant’s deficit to 58-46 and ran the clock down to just over 11 minutes left in the contest.
Maynard scored five of his 11 points during the run, including a 3-pointer from the left side at the 11:29 mark after a Claybrin McMath trey from the opposite corner. But the Irish had its lead back up to 20 points less than three minutes later, putting a stop to any thoughts of a Bulldog comeback.
Eric Atkins paced Notre Dame with 18 points off 50 percent shooting from the field and a 3-for-4 mark from long range. Jerian Grant recorded the game’s only double-double with 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, while the Fighting Irish saw five players record double-figure points on the afternoon.
The hosts shot 50 percent from the field in the first half and nearly 54 percent from distance after starting off the frame at nearly an 80 percent clip from beyond the arc. The Bulldogs did a better job limiting Notre Dame’s shots from outside in the second stanza, holding the home side to just 33.3 percent long range shooting (4-12). But the Irish stayed hot from inside, converting 46.4 percent of all second-half looks for a 48.4 percent clip on the game.
Meanwhile, Bryant struggled to get shots to fall early in the contest, and only four Bulldogs would get on the board in the opening 20 minutes, led by a half-best 13 points from Francis. For the Irish, all nine players registered at least one basket, and the home side had three with 10 points at the break for a 47-28 halftime lead.
“When you play a game like this, you have to be hitting on all cylinders,” said head coach Tim O’Shea. “We missed a lot of shots early on, and you just can’t make that up against a team like Notre Dame on its home court.”
Bryant shot 35.4 percent from the floor on the day and made six 3-pointers while taking 26 shots from the perimeter. The Bulldogs were outmatched on the glass by a bigger and stronger Notre Dame side, losing the rebounding battle, 46-33. Still, the Black and Gold allowed the home team just 14 second-chance points on the afternoon.
“To be able to stand on the same court as a program with the stature of Notre Dame is an honor for our team and a privilege for our program,” said O’Shea.