Nov. 18, 2000
By TOM COYNE
Associated Press Writer
NOTRE DAME, Ind. (AP) – The victory over Sacred Heart lacked the suspense of last season’s opener, but Notre Dame’s 104-58 win Saturday night was just as exciting for the Irish.
Notre Dame knocked off then-No. 4 Ohio State in last season’s opener. This season’s first game lacked a ranked opponent, but not story lines.
Mike Brey earned his 100th coaching victory in his Notre Dame debut and Martin Ingelsby re-emerged as the starting point guard for the Irish.
“Last year a lot of people thought we got lucky,” said Troy Murphy, who had 31 points and 14 rebounds. “This was more exciting than it was last year because the crowd was into it. It was a fun time playing out there.”
Ryan Humphrey, a transfer from Oklahoma, added 19 points in his Notre Dame debut.
“It felt great. This was a long time coming,” said Humphrey, who had nine rebounds. Humphrey scored nine of his points in the opening five minutes of the second half as the Irish opened a 72-37 lead.
Ingelsby, the starting point guard for two years who was demoted to the bench last season, flourished in his starting role.
Ingelsby made all five of his 3-pointers in the first half, and the Irish made 9-of-12 3-pointers in the same span and opened a 24-point halftime lead. The only other shot Ingelsby attempted was a failed free throw.
“It was great to get back on the floor and play a lot of minutes and try to contribute,” said Ingelsby, who finished with 15 points and six assists. “It was a big confidence boost.”
The 104 points is the most for the Irish since they beat Sienna 107-96 in the second game last season, and the first-time they broke 100 points in a season-opener since beating St. Joseph’s of Indiana 104-56 in 1983.
The largest loss by the Pioneers (0-1) last season was 43 points against Wagner.
Matt Carroll added 17 points, six assists and five rebounds for the Irish.
Sacred Heart, a Fairfield, Conn., school entering its second season in Division I, was led by Andrew Hunter’s 15 points. Kurt Reis added 14 points and Marijus Kovaliukas added 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Irish shot 57.1 percent against the Pioneers while holding Sacred Heart to 28.8 percent.
“We were one of the worst defensive teams in the country last season, and I doubt anyone in this area of the country thinks we’re any better,” coach Dave Bike said. “We thought we were.”
The Irish took control midway through the first half. Leading 25-20, the Irish went on an 18-4 run. Ingelsby capped the spurt with his fifth 3-pointer as the Irish opened a 43-24 lead.
The Irish extended the lead to 47-33 at halftime, shooting 65.5 percent while the Pioneers shot 32.1 percent.