Jan. 2, 2000
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Let the second season begin.
Notre Dame sophomore Troy Murphy scored 31 points and yanked down 14 rebounds to lead the Irish to a 75-57 win over Loyola Marymount on Sunday afternoon.
It was Notre Dame’s last non-conference game of the year and their fifth straight win. It left them 9-5 heading into Wednesday night’s Big East Conference opener at Connecticut.
The loss was Loyola’s (1-10) tenth in a row and left coach Charles Bradley unavailable for comment after the game.
Notre Dame, riding on Murphy’s coattails, had seven players score 3-pointers for only the second time in its history, despite having no players other than Murphy score more than nine points. In addition, the Irish held the Lions to a 32 percent shooting effort from the field, including a dismal 23 percent in the second half.
“We are always happy to win one,” said Notre Dame coach Matt Doherty. “I told Troy when he came over to the bench after passing on a couple of potentially easy shots in favor of laying it off to another player, what a pleasure it was to coach him. He is so unselfish on the floor.”
Murphy scored 20 of his points in the first half.
The win sets up a rugged conference schedule, beginning with the defending national champion Huskies.
“Obviously, the Big East teams are going to have to have Murphy as a focal point,” Doherty said. “But we are about where we wanted to be right now. I feel confident right now as we get ready for the conference. We have seen a lot of different styles of play and I think we have gotten better. Now it comes down to how we perform in an individual game. You can improve in a lot of areas but if the shots don’t fall, you lose anyway.”
Curtis Slaughter scored 13 and Pablo Machado had 12 for Loyola.
Notre Dame broke out to a 24-13 lead in the first nine minutes, fueled by 10 Murphy points. Three-pointers by Stanley Thorne and Curtis Slaughter allowed the Lions to close to within three, making the score 26-23 with 7:34 to go.
Irish freshman forward Mike Monserez nailed two straight 3-pointers to re-establish control. Notre Dame led at halftime, 44-33.
Notre Dame opened the second half with an 8-2 run in the first four minutes and coasted home from there. The Irish shot 47 percent from the field and were 11-of-27 from the 3-point line.
Harold Swanagan left the game early with a hand injury and will be X-rayed prior to the team’s departure for Connecticut.