Miami aims to locate its shot vs. Notre Dame

Sports

If nothing else, Miami Hurricanes forward Anthony Walker is a master of the obvious.

“Our shots are not falling from 3,” he said, “and we’ve got to improve.”

Miami (6-7 overall, 2-6 Atlantic Coast Conference), which resides last in the ACC in 3-point percentage (26.9), will get another opportunity to show improvement on Sunday when it hosts Notre Dame (4-8, 1-5).

The Fighting Irish are third in the ACC in 3-point percentage (37.4). But what should give the Hurricanes hope for a victory is the fact that Notre Dame’s defense is last in the league in 3-point percentage allowed (38).

Unlike Miami’s previous game, an 83-57 loss to Syracuse on Tuesday, Notre Dame doesn’t play much zone. The Fighting Irish’s defense also ranks second-worst in the league in points allowed (74.6).

Those factors could lead to an offensive breakout for some of Miami’s scorers, including Isaiah Wong, who ranks fourth in the league in points per game (17.5). Wong scored a career-high 30 points and had six assists and no turnovers in a 78-72 win over 16th-ranked Louisville on Jan. 16.

But that was against man defense. Three days later, Miami played Syracuse’s 2-3 zone and got blasted.

Chris Lykes, Miami’s leading scorer last season, hasn’t played since the second game of the campaign due to an ankle injury. He is day-to-day.

Notre Dame, meanwhile, has been off since snapping a four-game losing streak with an 80-70 home win over Boston College on Jan. 16.

The Irish, however, haven’t won a road game since posting a 64-63 victory over Kentucky on Dec. 12. Notre Dame is 1-4 away from home this season.

Notre Dame prides itself on playing solid defense without fouling. Offensively, the Irish have a lot of shooters, and no one is more efficient than Nate Laszewski.

Laszewski ranks first in the ACC and 12th nationally in 3-point shooting (55.3) and first in the ACC in field-goal percentage (64.1).

He leads Notre Dame and ranks seventh in the ACC in scoring (16.7). He also leads Notre Dame and ranks fourth in the conference rebounds (7.7).

“It’s kind of blowing my mind what Nate’s doing,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “He’s a shoe-in for ACC Most Improved Player.”

Laszewski may also win Player of the Year, and he has certainly earned consideration for the NBA draft.

“Just being confident,” Laszewski said. “Coach Brey preaches to step up, shoot it and make it.”

The other key Notre Dame players are Prentiss Hubb, who leads the team in assists (5.0) and averages 13.7 points; Dane Goodwin (13.3 scoring average); and Cormac Ryan (9.4 points per game). Goodwin and Trey Wertz both shoot over 40 percent on 3-pointers.

Miami’s best 3-point shooter is Matt Cross (43.5 percent). But Cross, after scoring 16 points off the bench against Louisville, was held scoreless and took just three shots against Syracuse’s zone.

“We have to knock down shots,” Walker said. ” Nobody in our locker room has given up hope.”

–Field Level Media

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