The Irish had to shake off the rust in the early going on Sunday as they were out-played and out-hustled by the Army Cadets as their quickness kept them off-balance.
The Cadets scored the first points of the game and took advantage of the home team's poor shooting to lead by as many as 16 at the 11-minute mark of the half.
Notre Dame slowly fought their way back into the game and cut the deficit to five with 1:30 remaining in the first stanza.
Senior Chris Thomas closed the gap to three with 43 seconds to go, and junior Chris Quinn capped the 25-9 run with a 3-pointer with only 00.03 on the clock to tie the score at 30-30 at the end of the first half.
The Irish were 10-of-35 from the field in the half for a 28.6 shooting percentage. From 3-point range they shot just 18.8 percent on 3-of-16 shooting.
Irish coach Mike Brey said he has a lot of respect for the Army team and their effort on Sunday.
"They were really ready to play and the one thing this team can do is shoot the basketball," Brey said of the Cadets. "And you make a couple of threes and you get confident and interesting things happen.
"I give our guys a lot of credit. In a potentially very frustrating situation we dug ourselves out of that hole and to tie that thing up is pretty good once we found the right guys to be in there."
The second half began by the Cadets quickly breaking the 30-30 tie and going up by two, but senior Jordan Cornette connected on a 3-pointer to give the Irish their first lead of the game 33-32.
The Irish never trailed from this point and had a comfortable 21-point margin 63-42 with just under five minutes to go.
Walk-on Ben Nichol closed out the Irish scoring with a lay up with one minute left in the game.
The Irish found their shooting eye in the second half as they hit on 16-of-32 for 50 percent and 41 points while their defense held the Cadets to a total of 22 points.
Four Irish players hit double figures with Colin Falls getting 16, senior Dennis Latimore 15, senior Jordan Cornette 13, and senior Chris Thomas 12. Thomas had five steals in the game to make him the all-time Notre Dame leader in this category with 205 thus far in his career.
Coach Brey was happy with his team's second half performance>
"In the second half I thought we did a very good job defensively," said Brey. "We forced some turnovers and were active, and we had some guys come off the bench and give us some energy - Russell Carter, Omari Isreal and certainly Colin Falls continues to play really well."
Senior guard Chris Quinn was impressed with how intense the Cadets played.
"We started off kind of slow, but a lot of credit goes to Army as they have a lot of tough guys who really came out and played hard," said Quinn. "They were knocking down shots at the beginning of the game, and there was a stretch where we weren't very assertive on the defensive end, but we were able to pick it up before halftime and continued it in the second half.
"At halftime we talked about continuing the momentum. We thought it started with our play on the defensive end by getting up and pressuring their guards and getting out into them. I think that's what gave us the run to win the game."
Falls, the game's leading scorer, said at halftime the team talked about playing solid defense.
"Being patient on the defensive end as they weren't shooting until the end of the shot clock, and we had to stay with our guy the whole time and not lose them," said Falls on the halftime conversation. "They run their offense so hard and every one of them goes hard, and it is hard to defend for 30 seconds without leaving someone open."
The Irish return to action at home Wednesday, December 28th, as they take on Marist at 7:00 PM.