The biggest lead by the Irish in the first half was eight points at the 1:43 mark with a score of 34-26. The first half stats show the Irish were 17-34 for 50% from the field. They were 1-3 for 33.3% from the foul line. The Eagles were 14-34 for 41.2% from the floor and 2-3 for 66.7% from the foul line. The leading scorer for the Eagles at halftime was Chez Marks with 14 points.
In the second half, the Irish got off to a quick start by going on a 10-3 run in the first 4½ minutes, making the score 51-36. At one point in this half, the Irish jumped the lead to 18 points and at the 11:45 mark, held a 60-44 lead. In the next 5 minutes, Morehead State went on a 13-2 run cutting the Irish lead to 62-57.
This was as close as the Eagles would get and the Irish jumped the lead by 10, 74-64, with 4:50 remaining. Down the stretch, the foul shooting again was big for the Irish as they increased the lead to 82-69 with a minute remaining. Jordan Cornette hit two foul shots in the closing seconds to make the final score 84-69.
The Irish were consistent in the 2nd half as they shot 51.9%, and for the game 50.8%. After only going to the foul line 3 times in the first half, the Irish in the second half were at the line 15 times and ended the game with a total of 14-18 for 77.8%. Morehead State was 42.9% from the field for the game and was outstanding from the foul line hitting 16-17 for the game.
Chris Thomas led all Irish scorers with 23. Torin Francis came in next with 21 plus 11 rebounds and Chris Quinn with 17. Marks continued the hot-hand for the Eagles in the second half by taking game honors with 29 points.
Overall the Irish played a good solid game with the one exception when the Eagles made their run midway through the second half. An impressive stat for the game was the 20 assists compared to 8 turnovers. By comparison, the Eagles had 13 assists and 14 turnovers. Defensively the Irish were solid but did not really have an answer for Marks and his 29 points. However, they did hold their leading scorer, Ricky Minard, to 13 points which is nine points below his average.
When Coach Brey was asked after the game about the 20 assists and only eight turnovers, he said, "I am really happy with us offensively. I think we're in a pretty good rhythm offensively. Overall we are taking pretty good shots, and the right guys are shooting. We are using Torin the right way. I like the way we are there because going into the Big East we are going to have to score points to have success against anybody - Morehead State, West Virginia, Connecticut - we have to make shots and be a good offensive team."
"That's who we are," Brey said. "Then we have to pick our spots defensively and make a couple of stops in a row, which we did today. We do need more than one guy rebounding the basketball on the defensive end. That's an area if we don't improve in, we are going to get hurt in league play."
Chris Quinn shared some thoughts on today's game by saying, "I think we had a couple times when we were standing on offense. But I think for 40 minutes, we were pretty good on the offensive end. Our assist-to-turnover ratio was really good. I think we did a good job for the most part of moving the ball. Anytime the assists are high and the turnovers are down, that is a great game for us. I think we have to look at our consistency on defense for 40 minutes. Every game there are periods when we show greatness on the defensive end, and then there are stretches where we look really bad. We need to be more consistent on defense."
Hoop Extras:Torrian Jones played in his 100th career game for the Irish this afternoon.
Going into today's game, Notre Dame was averaging 18.1 made free throws per game and have attempted an average of 23.0 per game. Their opponents are averaging just 8.5 made free throws per game and 12.3 attempted.
The 6-3 Irish have a few days off before returning to action in their first Big East game, January 7th against the West Virginia Mountaineers.