Jan. 3, 2018
By Robby Hamman
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Glenn and Stacey Murphy Head Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Brey became the all-time winningest coach in program history on Wednesday evening, as Notre Dame (12-3, 2-0 ACC) defeated NC State (10-5, 0-2 ACC) by a final score of 88-58. The win was the 394th for Brey at Notre Dame, passing Digger Phelps’ previous record of 393.
In the first game since Preseason ACC Player of the Year Bonzie Colson was sidelined with an ankle injury, the Irish needed someone to step up and the trio of T.J. Gibbs, D.J. Harvey and Rex Pflueger answered the call. Gibbs paced the Irish with 22 points, while Harvey poured in a career-high 17 points and Pflueger added 16. Senior Martinas Geben also impressed, recording his second double-double of the season with 10 points and a career-high 13 rebounds.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Notre Dame turned in its best offensive first half of basketball in ACC play in program history on Wednesday evening, scoring 48 points to set the record for points in a first half in a league game. Notre Dame led the Wolfpack 48-36 after the opening 20 minutes of action.
The Irish shot 61.3 percent from the field on 19-of-31 shooting, including a scorching 9-of-18 effort from three-point range in the first frame. Harvey led the team with 13 points and Gibbs added 11 to give Notre Dame the 12-point lead at the break.
Starting point guard Matt Farrell picked up an injury late in the first half and did not return for the remainder of the game. The Irish did not miss a beat, as the team locked down NC State on the defensive end. The Wolfpack began the second stanza 0-for-12 from the field and scored just two points over the first nine minutes of play, as the Irish lead grew to 27 points at 65-38. Notre Dame went on to win the game 88-58.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Gibbs hit a three-pointer on the first possession of the game to set the tone for the rest of his night. The sophomore filled a huge role as a go-to-scorer for the Irish against the Wolfpack on his way to a game-high 22 points. The Scotch Plains, New Jersey, native finished 6-of-12 from the floor and knocked down three shots from distance and seven from the free-throw line. Gibbs grabbed a career-high seven boards and matched his season high in assists with five.
NOTRE DAME STAT OF THE NIGHT
The Irish led the Wolfpack by seven points at 33-26 with just over five minutes remaining in the first half when Farrell went down with an injury. Over the remaining 25 minutes of play, Notre Dame outscored NC State 55-32, a margin of 23 points, without their top two leading scorers of the season.
NOTES OF THE GAME
- Brey now has 394 victories as Notre Dame’s head coach and passes Digger Phelps as the all-time program record holder.
- The Irish are now 8-4 against NC State in the all-time series.
- Notre Dame improves to 2-0 in ACC play and has now won its first two league games for the second consecutive year and third time in five seasons.
- The Irish knocked down at least 10 threes for the fifth time this season, draining 11 on Wednesday.
- Notre Dame dished out a season-high 20 assists in the win.
- The Irish outrebounded the Wolfpack 41-30 to improve to 11-0 when grabbing more rebounds than the opposition.
- Gibbs finished with 22 points, notching his fifth game of the season with 20+ points.
- Harvey scored a career-high 17 points, marking the fourth double-figure scoring game of the season.
- Geben turned in his second double-double of his career with 10 points and a career-high 13 rebounds.
- For the sixth time this season and ninth in his career, Pflueger finished with 10-plus points, scoring 16 against NC State.
- Rex Pflueger dished out six assists, matching his career high for the statistical category.
- Harvey made the first start of his Notre Dame career on Wednesday.
The Irish hit the road for their first ACC contest away from home for the year, as Notre Dame travels to Syracuse to take on the Orange at 3:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 6. The game will air live on either ESPN or ESPN2.
— ND —
Robby Hamman joined Fighting Irish Media as athletics communications assistant director in September 2016, coordinating efforts for the volleyball and men’s lacrosse program. Hamman is a 2010 graduate of Bethel College, where he earned bachelor’s degrees in sport management and business administration, and earned his master’s degree in business administration from Defiance College in 2013.