Nov. 1, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – It took two long years to come to fruition, but senior Scott Martin finally made his Irish debut Monday night and did so in style, contributing 15 points to lead Notre Dame to an 85-52 exhibition victory over Marian University at Purcell Pavilion.
Martin, who saw his first action since the 2007-08 season after transferring from Purdue and then suffering a season-ending knee injury last year, was 6-of-10 from the floor including a 3-of-5 mark from beyond the arc.
Three other Irish players scored in double figures, including preseason all-BIG EAST selection Tim Abromaitis, who contributed 15 points and pulled down four rebounds in 26 minutes of action. Carleton Scott added 13 points and seven rebounds for the Irish, while Ben Hansbrough tallied 14 points and a game-high six assists.
“You play the exhibition games to work the kinks out, and we’ve got kinks to work out,” Irish head coach Mike Brey said. “The arena provided a nice atmosphere, and we were able to substitute and rotate our guys the way we would during a regular-season game.
“Our unselfishness was great, and we’ve got a lot of guys who can make shots when they’re open. But we’re still learning how to use the interchangeable parts we have with this roster.”
Marian struggled with a sizable height disadvantage throughout the game, as four of its five starters checked in at under 6-feet-5-inches. The Irish capitalized with a strong effort around the basket, out-scoring Marian 36-12 in the paint and drawing 23 fouls. Notre Dame took 31 free throws attempts compared to the Knights’ 14, but faulted from the line 13 times.
Jordan Tucker posted 13 points on 5-for-11 shooting to pace the Marian effort, but the rest of the Knights squad could muster only 39 points and a 30.2 percent mark from the floor.
Martin propelled the Irish from the start, nailing two three-pointers in the first four minutes of action to help Notre Dame grab an early 12-6 lead.
From there, the Irish put together a 17-4 run to create some distance from a scrappy Marian squad. The sequence extended the Notre Dame advantage to 29-10 with 10:12 remaining in the first half, capped by a three-pointer by freshman guard Eric Atkins which came courtesy of an assist from senior forward Tyrone Nash.
Nash contributed a strong all-around effort for the Irish and finished with nine points, five assists and a game-high eight rebounds.
After Marian bounced back to cut the lead to 30-17 at the 7:28 mark, Notre Dame put together another big run, this time an 11-0 spurt over the next 2:39 to give the Irish their largest lead of the first half (41-17).
Scott connected on his second three-pointer – which was Notre Dame’s seventh of the half – to give the home team a 46-22 advantage with 3:15 to play in the stanza. The Irish would take a 50-26 lead into intermission.
Notre Dame connected on an impressive 63.6 percent of its attempts from behind the arc in the opening half and nailed nine three-pointers on the evening.
Two more jumpers from Martin helped the Irish extend their lead to 57-27 with 17:10 to go in the second half and the Knights could not move closer than 29 points in the next 8:15 minutes of action.
At that point, the Irish began a stretch of stifling defense that left Marian without a field goal over a span of 5:52. During that stretch, Notre Dame built its largest lead of the game as Hansbrough slashed into the lane and fed Martin for a dunk that gave the Irish an 81-42 advantage at the 4:16 mark.
Brey gave his starters a rest for the last four minutes of action as Atkins, senior walk-on Tom Kopko, sophomores Joey Brooks and Tom Knight and freshman guard Alex Dragicevich finished the game on the floor for Notre Dame.
Atkins chipped in eight points in his Irish debut, while Brooks added six points and three rebounds in 16 minutes of action.
Notre Dame wraps up its exhibition schedule with a home contest against Catholic University at 7:00 p.m. (ET) on Saturday (Nov. 6).