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The sharp shooting of Justin Halloran got Notre Dame out to a fast start against Providence-St. Mel and the No. 10 Dons never looked back, cruising to a 75-44 nonconference home win.
Halloran, a 6-foot-6 senior guard, took four three-pointers in the first quarter and made all of them as Notre Dame (20-4) raced out to a 23-8 lead by the end of the first quarter.
“My teammates did a great job of finding me and I just got to open spots,” said Halloran, who finished with 15 points, all in the first half. “I let it come to me. I’m confident in my shot but I’m not going to force bad shots.”
The Knights (19-4) slowed the Dons down a little bit early in the second quarter. Providence-St. Mel gave up just two field goals in the first 5:34 of the second quarter but were only able to pull within 27-14.
Notre Dame got hot again and closed the quarter with an 11-2 run, highlighted by a three-point play by Halloran. The Dons led 38-16 at halftime.
The third quarter was almost a carbon copy of the second. The Knights were able to trim the lead to 17 but senior guard Matt Mooney (21 points) scored seven straight points to push the lead back to 54-30. St. Mel’s Khalil Small knocked down a three late in the quarter and the Knights trailed 54-33 heading to the fourth.
Providence-St. Mel once again managed to pull within 17 points but the Dons were 10-for-12 from the free-throw line in the fourth to seal the blowout win.
“Providence-St. Mel is a good team and they play hard,” Mooney said. “They play a little faster than we do on offense and we knew they would attack. We had to close down the lanes on defense and they started taking some tough shots.”
Duante Stephens added 10 points for Notre Dame and Eddie Serrano chipped in eight points.
In the end, it all came down to Halloran’s hot start from beyond the arc.
“We knew he was capable of that but we were trying to shut down their other two (Mooney and Stephens) and we got sidetracked,” said Small, who led the Knights with 14 points. “That changed the momentum of the game and it was tough to come back because they’re at home and had all the momentum.”
Anthony Mosley Jr. added 12 points for Providence-St. Mel.