Dec. 19, 2000
By TOM COYNE
Associated Press Writer
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Troy Murphy had no trouble paying attention Tuesday night.
Two days after Tennessee Tech coach Jeff Lebo questioned whether Murphy was “disinterested” at times against lesser opponents, Murphy had 29 points and 15 rebounds to lead No. 21 Notre Dame to a 99-71 victory over Canisius.
“I think he was interested tonight,” Canisius coach Mike MacDonald said. “I told Troy after the game I thought that coach didn’t know what he was talking about.”
Murphy agreed, saying he simply had a bad game against Tennessee Tech.
“You want to come out and have a good showing every night. I didn’t play well against Tennessee Tech. You can’t do anything about what people say,” he said.
Murphy had 13 points in the 82-68 win Sunday, making only 1 of 7 free throws against Tech. Coming into Tuesday night, he had averaged 16.6 points in three games since spraining his right ankle. In Notre Dame’s other four games, he averaged 26.7 points.
Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said Murphy has provided the Irish (6-2) with the leadership he expects.
“He sets a great tone. I’m certainly happy for him. I think he’s starting to feel better,” Brey said.
Brey said Murphy had lost some of his edge by not practicing after spraining the ankle and was just beginning to come around again.
Murphy looked like his old self after a bit of a slow start. He touched the ball only twice in the first five minutes, before scoring from underneath at 14:30. He scored again on Notre Dame’s next possession, backing in on Darren Fenn and hitting a 6-foot jumper.
He was nearly unstoppable the rest of the way.
Ryan Humphrey also had a double-double, with 23 points and 11 rebounds. David Graves also scored 23 points, giving him back-to-back 20-point games for the first time in his career.
It was the first time Notre Dame had three 20-point scorers in a game since LaPhonso Ellis, Daimon Sweet and Elmer Bennett accomplished the feat against Syracuse on Feb. 15, 1992.
Brian Dux led Canisius (5-3) with 13 points, making 6 of 8 shots. Toby Foster had 12 points for Canisius, but scored only three after scoring nine points in the first seven minutes. Hodari Mallory also had 12 points.
The Irish used a 28-7 run in the first half to take a 48-26 lead. MacDonald called two timeouts during the run and got another break from a media timeout, but the Golden Griffins couldn’t stop the Irish.
“I thought during that time we had some shots that didn’t go down and we stopped defending,” MacDonald said. “And they’re tough to guard.”
The Irish had 32 assists on their 42 field goals, with Martin Ingelsby making 11 and Matt Carroll, who scored 11, adding nine assists as the Irish fell one assist shy of the team record set against Manhattan in 1986.
“We were very efficient offensively and very unselfish,” Brey said.