Jan. 5, 2000
? Coach Doherty
? T. Murphy
? J. Dillon
? M. Ingelsby
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Troy Murphy watched the film from last year’s lopsided loss to Connecticut over and over again. It was a dismal sight.
He fouled out after 11 points and just five rebounds.
“I had a bad taste in my mouth from last year’s game,” said Murphy. “I must have watched that film 20 times in the offseason. I wanted to play well (tonight).”
Boy, did he.
Murphy had 33 points and 16 rebounds Wednesday night to lead the Irish to a 75-70 upset over No. 2 Connecticut, snapping the Huskies 10-game winning streak.
The 6-foot-10 sophomore matched his career high with the 16 rebounds, 12 of which came on the defensive end, as the Irish outrebounded UConn 40-33 in the Big East opener for both teams.
Murphy’s versatility confounded the Huskies, who had a hard time running against the Irish zone defense.
“(Murphy’s) not just a low post player,” said first-year Irish coach Matt Doherty. “If you put a smaller guy on him, he can post up. If you double him, we’ve got good shooters, so he can pass out of a double team. He’s very well conditioned.”
Murphy played all 40 minutes without a turnover.
“Everybody followed Coach’s game plan. We wanted to get up on (Khalid) El-Amin and (Albert) Mouring and make the other guys take 15-footers,” Murphy said.
El-Amin provided almost half of UConn’s offense with a career-high 34 points as the Huskies (10-2) trailed nearly the entire game and shot just 35.7 percent from the field. The Irish (10-5) shot 45 percent, including 50 percent from 3-point range.
“We were not in a very good `we’ mode,” UConn coach Jim Calhoun said. “Collectively we didn’t play well tonight, offensively or defensively. I’ll take responsibility for that.”
El-Amin, who was 11-of-26 from the field, had eight of UConn’s first 10 points, hitting two of his five 3-pointers.
Murphy, who was 11-of-18, scored the first seven points for the Irish. His basket with 8:05 left in the first half put the Irish up 18-16, a lead they held until three minutes into the second half. He then went on a 7-0 run to give the Irish a 25-17 lead.
UConn pulled within a point on a 7-0 run, fueled by El-Amin’s five points. The Irish led 30-28 at the end of the first half, which ended with a technical foul called against Doherty.
“I was stupid,” Doherty said. “I gave them a little momentum.”
El-Amin made both free throws from Doherty’s technical to open the second half to draw even with the Irish. UConn regained the lead with 17:08 left, 35-33, on a three-point play by Kevin Freeman. Both teams traded baskets and were tied at 38-38 when Martin Inglesby hit a 3-pointer to give the Irish the lead for good. UConn got no closer than five points the rest of the game.
“The zone’s been good to us,” Doherty said. “We went man-to-man one possession in the second half and Khalid went through that like a hot knife through butter.”
Freshman Matt Carroll finished with 10 points for Notre Dame. Mouring had 14 points for UConn, which holds a 5-2 lead in the series.
The win against the defending national champs was the second victory this season for the Irish over a Final Four participant from last year. Notre Dame opened the season with a 59-57 win at Ohio State in the Preseason NIT.