March 16, 2001
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Matt Carroll scored 21 points and David Graves was 7-of-7 from the field as Notre Dame won its first NCAA tournament game since 1990.
Graves scored 20 points and Troy Murphy added 19 despite a cold shooting night as the Irish beat Xavier 83-71 on Friday night in the Midwest Regional.
Notre Dame (20-9) moves on to Sunday’s second round against Ole Miss, which beat Iona 72-70.
Xavier star David West, saddled by foul problems and good defense from a host of Irish defenders, most notably Ryan Humphrey, scored 19 points and had eight rebounds. The Musketeers finished 21-8.
Murphy, the first team All-American, shot 6-of-17 from the field, but his teammates were on the mark as the Irish shot 63 percent for the game.
The Irish entered the tournament on a downer with three straight losses, but built a 40-26 halftime lead and made it stand.
Carroll, who was 9-of-11 from the field, hit a 3-pointer with 10:12 left to give the Irish a 55-38 lead.
In the final minute and a half as Xavier trapped to get back in the game, Humphrey got open for three uncontested dunks.
Murphy, who missed six of his first seven shots, hit a jumper and then got free for a dunk as the Irish went on a 14-0 first-half run, holding Xavier scoreless for six minutes to take a 25-12 lead. Graves had a three-point play and a 3-pointer during the spurt.
West, meanwhile picked up his second foul and the Atlantic 10 player of the year went to the bench scoreless with 9:32 left in the half. He returned and finally got his first basket with 5:41 to go in the half.
Xavier cut the lead to seven before Carroll connected on a 3-pointer and a jumper right before the buzzer to give the Irish a 14-point halftime lead.
The Musketeers were 3-of-20 on 3-pointers.
West had 20 double-doubles this season for the Musketeers, who were making their fourth NCAA appearance in seven years under coach Skip Prosser. The 6-foot-8 sophomore averaged 17.8 points and 11 rebounds.
Murphy averaged 22 points and nine rebounds as Notre Dame won the Big East West division in Mike Brey’s first season as coach.
Murphy had managed just eight points as the Irish were bumped out by Pitt in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament when he shot just 2-for-11. It snapped his streak of 78 straight double-figure scoring games.