FAIRFIELD -- Vin Laczkoski didn't expect to have to dust off any gimmick defenses during Notre Dame-Faifield's second round Class M tournament game against underdog Plainfield Thursday. But he did and they worked, and that's all mattered as the No. 2 Lancers, led by Jaylen Jennings and CJ Davidson, survived and advanced with a 68-56 victory over the No. 18 Panthers.

The closer-than-expected battle -- hot-shooting Plainfield led by 12 in the second quarter and was within three with six minutes remaining in the game -- should be helpful to the Lancers down the road. Plainfield likes to play up tempo and loves to shoot the 3, which is a pretty good description of Notre Dame's next opponent, Waterford. Notre Dame hosts No. 7 Waterford Monday at 7 p.m. in the Class M quarterfinals.

"This will help us," said Laczkoski, whose Lancers had a first-round bye. "We switched to box-and-1 and triangle-and-2 defenses in the second half to try to stop (Plainfield's Ryan Pambuku). You could see that their shots were a lot different in the second half."

No word on whether the Lancers will utilize those defensive sets on Monday, but the numbers spoke volumes: Pambuku had 21 of his 27 points in the opening half, making 7 of 10 shots, but he had just two field goals after halftime. The Panthers' next biggest threat, Steve Jankowski, had similar numbers: 4 for 7 shooting for nine points in the first half; 2 for 9 for five in the second. And Plainfield was 0 for 8 from the floor in the final quarter.

Considering the Panthers had no answer for Jennings (26 points, 14 rebounds) and Davidson (23 points), their great first-half effort simply wasn't going to be enough.

"We like to push it and go at them and take 3s but eventually their speed caught up to us," Plainfield coach Bob Arremony said.

Until tiring in the final quarter the Panthers (13-10) threw a major scare into the Lancers (17-5). Laczkoski doesn't want to think where his team would've been had Jennings and Davidson not dominated in the first half. The two combined for 30 of ND's 37 first-half points.

"The first half surprised me, I guess we had so much time off," Jennings said about the eight-day layoff since the Lancers were knocked out of the SWC playoffs. "We were a little flat but I was definitely pleased with my performance, especially in the first quarter (12 points, six rebounds)."

Davidson, meanwhile, was one of the slow starters but had 21 of his 23 points in the final three quarters.

"I wasn't worried when we were down 12 because we've been in that situation before," Davidson said. "(Pambuku) was hot early (14 first-quarter points) but then we shut him down."

In the second half, Notre Dame shot 50 percent, held Plainfield to 28 percent shooting, and committed just two turnovers.

"This," said Laczkowski, referring to each half, "was a good lesson for us."



Steve Jankowski 6 0-1 14; Corey Anderson 0 5-6 5; Teaque Carigan 1 1-2 3; Will Robinson 2 1-1 5; Ryan Pambuku 9 6-8 27; Andre Bergeron 1 0-0 2; Liam Jacobs 0 0-0 0; Killian Easton 0 0-0 0; Isaiah Fort 0 0-0 0; Jason Biesiadecki 0 0-0 0; Jeff Nicolosi 0 0-0 0; David Carpenter 0 0-0 0; Marcus Robinson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-52 13-18 56


Jesse McIntosh 3 0-1 7; Jake Heaton 1 3-4 5; Jordan Pettway 2 1-1 5; Jaylen Jennings 11 4-6 26; CJ Davidson 11 1-2 23; Anthony Gadsden 1 0-0 2; Joseph Cantey 0 0-0 0; Raphael Torres 0 0-0 0. Totals: 29-59 9-14 68

PLAINFIELD 25 12 16 3--56

NOTRE DAME 16 21 18 13--68

3-pointers: P--Pambuku 3, Jankowski 2; ND--McIntosh.

Highlights: P--Anderson 7 rebounds; ND--Jennings 14 rebounds, 4 blocks, Pettway 8 assists, Gadsden 6 rebounds.