The veteran presence of Nate Laszewski is a big reason Notre Dame is off to its best start in five seasons.

Averaging a double-double, Laszewski will look to help the Fighting Irish improve to 4-0 on Friday night, when they host a pesky Lipscomb squad in South Bend, Ind.

In his fifth season at Notre Dame, the 6-foot-10 Laszewski is averaging career highs of 20.0 points and 10.7 rebounds. He made 18 of 29 shots, including 5 of 10 from 3-point range, and totaled three blocks while the Irish beat Radford, Youngstown State and Southern Indiana by a combined 22 points.

Prior to this season, Laszewski averaged 9.0 points and 5.5 boards in 125 games for Notre Dame, which last won its first four in 2017-18.

“‘The stage has been cleared out for you to be a star,'” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said he told Laszewski prior to the season. “It took me time to explain that to him. I love that he’s grabbed it.”

Though the Irish have not dominated any of their first three opponents, and have yielded 75.7 points per contest, they’re shooting 53.2 percent and led wire-to-wire in Wednesday’s 82-70 victory over Southern Indiana.

Senior guard Trey Wertz has averaged 17.7 points while going 19-of-30 from the field after scoring 5.7 per game the past two seasons.

This will be Notre Dame’s first meeting with Lipscomb (2-1), which opened with an 85-77 loss at South Dakota, then trounced Campbellsville-Harrodsburg before edging Nashville rival Belmont 77-75 on Monday.

Jacob Ognacevic, whose last-second layup beat Belmont, has averaged 18.0 points on 20-of-32 shooting for the Bisons, who are shooting 52.4 percent overall and made 10 or more 3-pointers in two of their first three contests.

“I like our team a lot,” Lipscomb coach Lennie Acuff told ESPN. “I think we’ve got a high ceiling. We’ve got to keep figuring some things out. … It’s great for our school to play Notre Dame.”

Since the 2008-09 season, Lipscomb is 1-7 against ACC teams. The Bisons were picked to finish sixth this season by the Atlantic Sun’s coaches.

–Field Level Media