Nov. 16, 1999
? Coach Matt Doherty
? Forward David Graves
By RUSTY MILLER
AP Sports Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Matt Doherty made an exception this time.
David Graves’ 15-foot jumper at the buzzer gave Notre Dame a 59-57 upset of No. 4 Ohio State on Tuesday night in the opening round of the Preseason NIT.
“I usually have a `Midnight Rule,’ where I only allow the guys to enjoy a win until midnight,” Doherty said after winning his first game as a head coach. “But since we’ve got about a four-hour bus ride home, I guess I’ll let them celebrate a little longer.”
Graves, who finished with 18 points, dribbled from the backcourt to the left wing, fumbled for the ball for a split second and got off the shot as the buzzer sounded. The Fighting Irish, coming off a 14-16 season, advance to meet Siena, an 89-79 winner over Davidson, in the second round Thursday night.
Ohio State, which was 27-9 last season and had four starters back from a team that reached the Final Four, pulled even on a three-point play by Scoonie Penn with 18 seconds left.
“Obviously, it’s a very disappointing loss,” Ohio State coach Jim O’Brien said. “Give a lot of the credit to Notre Dame. They had a good game plan and on this night it worked. The worst thing about it is, we have to wait two weeks to play again. That is not a pleasant situation. I wish we were able to play tomorrow.”
Doherty, a member of North Carolina’s national championship team in 1982, was making his head coaching debut after lengthy assistant stints at Davidson and Kansas.
“I feel we’re very fortunate,” Doherty said. “We performed well and Ohio State didn’t perform very well.”
Troy Murphy led the Irish with 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Martin Ingelsby added 14 points.
Only four players scored and only six even attempted a shot for Notre Dame, which won despite committing 25 turnovers.
Penn led the Buckeyes with 15 points, follow by Michael Redd with 11. But they both struggled all night and combined for only seven points in the second half.
“We didn’t want Scoonie Penn beating us and I didn’t want Michael Redd beating us,” Doherty said. “We wanted to put the focus defensively on them.”
Penn, picked as a preseason All-America, was 6-of-17 from the field and Redd was only 4-of-16, including a missed layup off an inbounds play that could have tied the game in the final 30 seconds.
Ohio State had a horrible shooting night, making just 22 of 66 shots for 33 percent.
“We missed more shots than they took,” O’Brien said. “That, plus their turnovers, indicates that we should’ve won but they were very efficient on offense.”
In the other locker room, there was a lot of talk about the luck of the Irish.
“We were lucky,” Doherty said. “Michael Redd didn’t have to miss that layup. Then again, David Graves didn’t have to make that jumper.”
Still, a 9-0 run midway through the second half gave the Buckeyes a 41-34 lead. That surge was spurred by the team’s Yugoslav connection, Slobodan Savovic and Slobodan Ocokoljic.
The Buckeyes had missed nine of their previous 11 shots before George Reese hit a 15-foot jumper, Ocokoljic drove the lane for a bucket, Reese dunked inside off an assist from Savovic and Savovic then buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key.
But Notre Dame wouldn’t go away and took the lead at 54-51 on Ingelsby’s 3-pointer with 1:47 left. The Irish added to that on a bucket by Murphy with just under a minute to play before Penn hit two free throws with 35 seconds left to cut it to 56-54.
After Redd missed the wide-open layup with 29 seconds left, Murphy hit a foul shot two seconds later to set the stage for the wild finish.
“I knew my team and we are not that good at this time of year,” O’Brien said. “We need to let go of what was last year. We are a different team this year.”
Notre Dame hit half of its 16 3-point attempts while Ohio State was 5-of-23 behind the arc.
It was the first time the teams had met in 26 years.