SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame used a 21-4 run early in the first half to propel itself to a 74-64 victory over Marshall Friday night in men’s college basketball at the Joyce Center.
The Irish (3-1) appeared early as if they easily would put the game away, using a 21-4 run to turn a 4-4 tie into a 25-8 lead after a 3-point basket by senior guard T. J. Gibbs.
Gibbs was big early, scoring nine points on a trio of 3-pointers during the streak, loosening the Herd defense for 6-9 senior forward John Mooney a preseason first-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, who scored 28 points and grabbed 16 rebounds for his 24th career double-double. Gibbs scored 15 and Dane Goodwin 11.
“There are no moral victories, but we came back, found our composure and need to keep growing from here,” MU coach Danny D’Antoni said. “We just have to keep pushing the pedal down a little bit and not take anything for granted.”
Despite Notre Dame’s early dominance, Marshall (1-2) refused to fold. Jarrod West made a layup at the 10:35 mark to start a 17-6 run during which redshirt freshman Cam Brooks-Harris scored seven points to pull the Herd within 31-27.
Notre Dame coach Mike Brey, a candidate for the Marshall job in the 1990s when he was head coach at Delaware, called timeout with 4:25 left until halftime to regroup his team. The strategy worked as Mooney sandwiched a basket and a pair of free throws around a Gibbs 3-pointer to push the Irish lead to 38-27.
Jannson Williams made his first two free throws of the season to cut Marshall’s deficit to nine, but Gibbs scored late to send Notre Dame to the locker room up 40-29.
After West opened the second half with a 3-pointer to pull the Herd within 40-32, Mooney scored seven of the next nine points to give the Irish a 13-point lead.
Once again, the Herd charged back. Seven-footer Goran Miladinovic’s hook over Mooney started an 8-0 run that brought Marshall within 49-46 after a fade-away jumper by 6-5 sophomore guard Taevion Kinsey, who led the Herd with 16 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.
“Taevion was efficient,” D’Antoni said. “Over 50 percent shooting, 11 rebounds, five assists. He has to cut down on his turnovers.”
The Herd pulled no closer, however, and trailed by as many as 12 in the final 30 seconds, despite being within 67-61 late.
“We just have to solidify our lineup with those bigs,” D’Antoni said of an offense that has changed from a four-guard, run-and-gun attack to a slower-paced set that stresses getting the ball inside. “Defensively, I thought we were real good after those first seven or eight minutes.”
West scored 14 points. Iran Bennett scored 10 points and snatched eight rebounds.
Marshall out-shot Notre Dame, making 26 of 65 shots (40 percent) to the Irish’s 24-for-76 performance (31.6 percent). The Herd, though, made just four of 22 attempts from 3-point range, while Notre Dame was 7-for-28.
The Irish out-rebounded Marshall 54-43, including a crucial 22-11 on the offensive boards. Notre Dame benefited from a number of second shot opportunities and didn’t help the Herd much by committing merely eight turnovers to Marshall’s 17.
The Herd returns to action at 7 p.m. Tuesday against the College of Charleston (2-1) at Cam Henderson Center.