Nov. 17, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For the third time in as many games, a superior shooting effort by Ben Hansbrough fueled the Notre Dame men’s basketball team to victory as the Irish posted a 102-62 non-conference triumph over Chicago State on Wednesday night at Purcell Pavilion.
After four-three pointers in the season opener and five on Sunday against Liberty, Hansbrough continued to one-up himself against the Cougars, as the senior nailed a career-best six three-pointers to go along with a game-high 22 points on Wednesday.
Hansbrough – who added six assists and five rebounds in the contest – is shooting a blistering 60 percent from beyond the arc this season and leads the Irish with 20.3 points per game.
In addition to Hansbrough’s heroics, a trio of Notre Dame players recorded double-doubles for the first time since Jan. 23, 2010, led by preseason all-EAST selection Tim Abromaitis, who recorded 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
Carleton Scott tied a personal-best with 17 points to go along with his 10 rebounds, while Tyrone Nash added 11 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in 26 minutes of action.
Notre Dame attempted 34 free throws in the contest, evidence of the team’s physical play around the basket. The Irish held a sizable 59-28 edge on the glass and grabbed 20 offensive boards to the Cougars’ seven.
What’s more, four Notre Dame players tallied at least five assists as the home team moved the ball throughout the contest and distributed an impressive 29 assists on 34 field goals.
The Cougars came out firing in the first half and nailed their first four three-point attempts to hold a 14-13 advantage after five minutes of play.
Hansbrough responded by knocking down a three-pointer on the next possession and a jumper by Abromaitis seconds later gave the Irish an 18-14 cushion.
Chicago State continued to shoot well from beyond the arc, and a three-point goal from Robert Montgomery helped the Cougars’ regain the lead at 20-19 at the 12:35 mark of the half.
After a strong finish in traffic by Nash gave the Irish a 26-24 edge, two free throws from Chicago State’s Christian Wall knotted the score at 26.
From there, Chicago State went cold from the field and the Irish began to take control of the game.
A jumper by Scott moved Notre Dame ahead, 30-26, and a lay-in by Abromaitis extended the lead to seven (33-26). Another three-pointer from Hansbrough gave the Irish a 41-28 advantage, and a lay-in from Mike Broghammer capped a 22-2 run for Notre Dame that ended with the Irish on top 48-28.
The Irish took a 52-31 lead into the break after shooting 54.5 percent (18-33) from the field in the period.
At the 18:20 mark of the second half, the Irish put together another big run, this time a 17-1 spurt over the next 3:38 to build a 26-point cushion at 74-38.
With 11:15 remaining, Eric Atkins connected on a three-pointer and then found Joey Brooks under the basket on the ensuing Irish possession to extend the lead to 32 (84-42) with 10:04 remaining.
Atkins finished the game with personal bests of 12 points and five assists while adding three rebounds in 32 minutes.
Perhaps the best play of the evening came from Broghammer, who drew a roar from the student section after catching an alley-oop from Abromaitis and slamming it home with 7:11 to go. Two minutes later, Abromaitis hit a jumper to give the Irish a 48-point lead (99-53), their largest of the contest.
Notre Dame’s group of underclassmen and senior walk-on Tom Kopko took the floor for the game’s final three minutes and were led by a six-point, five-rebound effort from sophomore Jack Cooley.
With the victory, the Irish are off to a 3-0 start for the third straight season and for the seventh time during the Mike Brey era.
The 40-point margin of victory was the largest for Notre Dame since a 108-62 victory over Northern Illinois on Dec. 8, 2007.
The Irish return to action with a 7:30 p.m. (ET) non-conference tilt against Maine on Monday at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.