Irish improve to 6-3
Chris Thomas scored 23 points after missing his first seven shots and Torin Francis had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead Notre Dame to an 84-69 victory over Morehead State on Sunday.
Notre Dame (6-3) led by as many as 18 points in the second half. But the Eagles (4-5) went on a 15-2 run to cut the lead to 62-57 when Ricky Minard scored on a dunk with 8:07 left. The Irish regained control with a 10-5 spurt, though, highlighted by Thomas stealing the ball from Minard and going end-to-end, hitting a shot as he was fouled hard by Minard and then making a free throw for the three-point play.
The Eagles cut the lead to 74-67 when Chez Marks, who led the Eagles with 29 points, hit a 3-pointer with 4:31 left. But the Irish finished the game with a 10-2 run to put the game away.
The game featured two players who tested the NBA waters last spring, declaring themselves eligible for the draft, but later changed their minds. With seven NBA scouts in attendance, Thomas and Minard both struggled in the first half.
Thomas, who missed his last nine shots Tuesday against Quinnipiac, missed his first seven against the Eagles, including six 3-pointers. He finally hit a 14-footer with 5:59 left in the first half and hit a 3-pointer two minutes later to end an 0-for-10 streak from 3-point range.
Minard wasn't any better. After hitting his first basket, he missed his next eight shots before finally hitting a 14-foot jumper late in the half.
Thomas finished the game 8-of-21 shooting, 2-of-11 from 3-point range, with five assists. Minard was 3-of-15 for 13 points, seven from the free-throw line, and 10 rebounds. Marks was the most impressive shooter, hitting 11-of-15 shots, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range.
Chris Quinn added 17 points for the Irish, who shot 50.8 percent. The Eagles outrebounded the Irish 37-30.
Notre Dame's next action is on Wednesday, Jan. 7, at home against West Virginia in the first Big East Conference game for the Irish.
Notre Dame: Jordan Cornette 2 2-2 7, Torin Francis 8 5-7 21, Chris Thomas 8 5-6 23, Colin Falls 3 0-0 7, Torrian Jones 3 0-1 7, Chris Quinn 6 2-2 17, Russell Carter 0 0-0 0, Tom Timmermans 1 0-0 2, Greg Bosl 0 0-0 0. Totals: 31 14-18 84
Morehead State: Cory Burns 2 0-0 4, Chad McKnight 4 0-0 8, Chez Marks 11 3-4 29, Quinton Smith 1 2-2 5, Ricky Minard 3 7-7 13, Craig Lewis 1 0-0 2, Kyle Hankins 0 0-0 0, Josh Graham 1 2-2 4, David Aliu 1 2-2 4. Totals: 24 16-17 69
Halftime score: Notre Dame 39, Morehead State 33
3-point shooting: Notre Dame 8 (Quinn 3, Thomas 2, Falls, Jones, Cornette), Morehead State 5 (Marks 4, Smith). Team fouls (fouled out): Notre Dame 14 (none), Morehead State 22 (none). Team records: Notre Dame 6-3, Morehead State 4-5
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