Irish prove they're deadly from downtown
assistant sports editor
Irish fans may know Matt Carroll can knock down a three and that David Graves can get into a groove from behind the arc.
But they never saw the Irish drain 14 three-pointers in a game like they did Saturday in an 81-66 win over the Pittsburgh Panthers.
Notre Dame scored more than half of its points from three-point land, breaking the previous school record of 13. The team shot an astounding 61 percent from long distance, tearing apart Pittsburgh's defense.
As Notre Dame won by the three, Pittsburgh lost by the three. Not only could the Panthers not prevent the red-hot shooting of the Irish, they only shot 23 percent on their 26 shots from behind the arc.
"I think that's 38 in three games," Pittsburgh coach Ben Howland of the number of three-point shots the Panthers have given up of late. "With our lack of depth, it's hard for us to play much man-to-man. I think that they along with the other four teams we've played in the Big East [St. John's, Connecticut, Seton Hall and Syracuse], are all NCAA teams, and I would be surprised if that doesn't happen."
Balance in the game was key for the Irish, as five players hit multiple treys for the Irish in the Big East victory — Carroll, Graves, Troy Murphy, Martin Ingelsby and Jere Macura.
"At times you think that Troy's the only one that can score," Notre Dame head coach Matt Doherty said, "But we've got other guys that can knock the ball in the basket."
The Irish were hot from the beginning as Notre Dame was hitting its shots from the opening seconds, as Murphy and Carroll scored three-pointers on the first two possessions.
Carroll and Ingelsby each dialed long distance three times, while Graves and Murphy were both two for four from three-point range.
"It doesn't matter who scores," Ingelsby, a senior point guard, said. "We've got some really good shooters. If we're hitting our shots, it's going to make Murphy more effective."
But it was the freshman reserve Macura who was the most surprising sharp shooter. He hit four three-pointers in the first eight minutes.
"He's a great shooter," Doherty said. "Think back to Indiana, he had 13 points in the Indiana game. I want that Jere back."
Macura, who averages only 4.3 points per game in his first season at Notre Dame, scored 12 points in 20 minutes.
"Macura impressed me," Howland said. "He has great form as a shooter. Ingelsby we knew was a great shooter. We were late getting to him [on his shots]."
Every player who took a shot from behind the arc for the Irish nailed at least two. All five shot 50 percent or better in the contest.
Doherty said the team's improved offensive execution was a big factor in the hot shooting.
"We worked a lot since the Syracuse game on our zone offense," Doherty said, "Because against Syracuse, we didn't execute our offense very well. We've got good shooters. If they can get open, I feel confident they can get the shot."
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer
All Sports Stories for Monday, January 24, 2000