March 9, 2000
By HAL BOCK
AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK – Notre Dame coach Matt Doherty liked his chances.
With the Big East tournament quarterfinal game against No. 23 Miami up for grabs in the final seconds Thursday night, Doherty had the ball in the hands of Troy Muphy, the conference player of the year.
That’s exactly where he wanted it
“Our best player, an open 3,” Doherty said. “I’ll take him against everybody in the league. Him spotting up for an open 3. That’s all you ask for.”
Murphy’s shot bounced off the rim and moments later Elton Tyler’s dunk and block of the inbounds pass completed Miami’s 61-58 victory over Notre Dame.
“We gave it a shot,” Doherty said. “We drained our tank.”
The Irish were running on empty against the taller, quicker Hurricanes but nearly pulled off the upset.
“We never got into an offensive flow,” Miami coach Leonard Hamilton said. “We were a step behind.”
Miami (21-9) stretched a second-half lead to 10 points at 53-43 before Notre Dame (18-14) charged back with a 10-0 run that was started with consecutive 3-pointers by Martin Ingelsby and Matt Carrroll. A basket by Carroll with 4:56 to play tied it at 53.
Then Miami responded with six straight points on baskets by Tyler, who scored 14, and John Salmons and a pair of foul shots by Vernon Jennings for a 59-53 lead with 2:19 remaining.
Again, the Irish responded, drawing within one point with 20.6 seconds to play on a basket by Harold Swanagan followed by a 3-pointer by Jere Macura.
After Jennings missed a free throw with 18.8 seconds to play, the Irish came down and went for the win. But Murphy’s long shot bounced away and Miami rebounded. Tyler, alone downcourt, dunked for a 61-58 lead with less than a second left.
Doherty defended the shot.
“I don’t think Coach Hamilton was comfortable with him spotting up for the open 3,” he said.
Notre Dame had one slim last chance, but Tyler blocked the inbounds pass to end it.
“Murphy is a physical player and you have to make him work,” Hamilton said. “He’s physical and aggressive. We’re fortunate he didn’t go off on us. He brings out the best in our defense.”
Although Murphy led Notre Dame with 15 points, he was just 5-for-16 from the floor. He also had 16 rebounds. David Graves added 14, and Carroll had 11 for the Irish.
Johnny Hemsley led Miami with 17 points, and Jennings had eight points and 11 assists.