Dec. 28, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Friday’s game against Long Island provides the No. 22 Irish just one final opportunity to fine-tune their game prior to the Big East season.
There is no need to fine tune the game of All-American Troy Murphy or of junior Ryan Humphrey. Rapidly opponents are starting to realize the double-threat, which Notre Dame boasts.
“I feel more comfortable with him on the floor,” Murphy said about his teammate. ” I feel more comfortable trying things with him out there.”
If opponents chose to focus on Murphy and Humphrey, junior David Graves’ eyes light up. Graves just crossed the 1000-point plateau in the game against Vermont. In fact, he accounted for the most points in the past three games with 64.
In the past three games, Graves, along with Murphy and Humphrey, have combined for 179 of Notre Dame’s 277 points. The front line is impressive to say the least. The Irish are ranked 15th in the country in terms of scoring offenses, registering around 86.2 points per game.
While the team packs a punch in the likes of the forwards, Notre Dame also can burn opponents from the outside. The Irish are notorious for their three-point shooting. Currently, the Irish rank 14th in three-point scoring and average around nine 3s per game.
Even point guard Martin Ingelsby is considered a threat from the three-point lane. The combination causes Notre Dame’s opponents to respect all players and limits the ability to double and triple team Murphy.
It is a combination like that, which excites not only the team but their coach as well.
Friday’s game against Long Island provides the Irish the final chance to fine-tune their man-to-man defense as well as work on their rebounding. Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey does not try to hide his team’s shortcomings when it comes to crashing the boards.
However, his star player is quick to point out how times have changed with the addition of Humphrey on the floor.
“I feel more comfortable with him in the defensive set,” Murphy said. “I don’t have to be the primary guy to rebound all the time.”
Friday’s game provides Murphy and his teammates one last chance to work out the kinks before taking on the Big East. One thing is certain, Big East teams should beware, Notre Dame’s front line packs a powerful punch.