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Defense, freshman spark Irish

– Notre Dame shut Villanova down from three-point range, and then the Irish beat the Wildcats by making their own long-range shots.

The Irish held Villanova to 3-of-11 shooting from three-point range, while the Irish were 9 of 21. Freshman Cameron Biedscheid scored a season-high 18 points, including going 5 of 7 from three-point range, to lead Notre Dame to the 65-60 victory Wednesday night.

The plan by the Irish (17-4, 5-3 Big East) to focus on shutting down the Wildcats from outside worked.

“It was a matter of our big guys helping our guards over the top,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said.

Villanova (13-8, 4-4) had no answer when Biedscheid started hitting threes.

“Once he gets going, it’s almost ruthless,” said Jack Cooley, who added 17 points and 16 rebounds for the Irish.

Biedscheid went 0 of 8 from the field in a 16-point loss at home to Georgetown last week. Biedscheid scored in double figures in a Big East game for the first time to spark the Irish, who had lost two of three at home.

Biedscheid said he never lost confidence in his shot.

“One bad game doesn’t make you a bad player, and one good game doesn’t make you a great player,” he said.

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