Emotion flows for victors
BRIAN KESSLER Sports Writer
Irish head coach Mike Brey blindsided senior point guard Martin Ingelsby and jumped onto his back as students poured onto the Joyce Center floor Wed-nesday night.
After all, it was Ingelsby who carried Notre Dame on his back in the final moments of a thriller against No. 9 Boston College and led them to a 76-75 victory.
With time winding down and the Irish trailing by a point, Ingelsby drove the lane, leaned into a defender and put up a prayer from the left elbow.
It was answered.
Eagles' guard Troy Bell raced down the court with 3.7 seconds left, but junior David Graves poked the ball away from behind to secure the win.
"It was from the heart," said Brey about jumping onto Ingelsby. "I was really
excited for him."
"We were trying to get the ball inside, but they did a good job of denying it," Ingelsby said of the final sequence. "I saw the lane, got by and hit a lucky shot."
That lucky shot propelled the 18-6 Irish into first place in the Big East conference. They share the best conference mark (10-3) with the Eagles, but now own the tie-breaker since the two teams will not meet again during the regular season.
"This team has the chance to hang the first league championship banner," Brey said. "I drew a picture of one on the board before the Seton Hall game. This is new territory for these guys, but they're ready to handle it. No one deserves it as much as they do."
It seems no one deserves Big East player of the year honors more than Troy Murphy. Wednesday night's game was built up as the Battle of Troys, with the victor likely walking away with the award. The Irish literally one-upped the Eagles and Murphy got the better of the showdown with Bell. Each player went the entire 40 minutes with neither man shooting particularly well. But Murphy scored 23 points on 4-of-12 shooting and grabbed eight boards, including seven in the second half. Bell only scored 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting and had nine rebounds. However, he committed five turnovers and only had one of his four assists in the second half.
Murphy went to the line 18 times, connecting on 14 of the shots from the charity stripe.
Boston College coach Al Skinner voiced his displeasure with that statistic at the post-game press conference.
"He shot more free throws than our entire team," said Skinner, whose team only went to the line 14 times. "We have a first team all-league player too and he only shot three free throws. There was contact on both ends. It's difficult to win games on the road when one player shoots more free throws than our entire team."
The reason Murphy shot so many free throws was because he was consistently mugged in the post. Obviously Bell, a jump shooter, isn't going to go to the line as often. And if that logic was too long winded for coach Skinner, Murphy summed up the discrepancy after the game.
"They fouled me more than we fouled their whole team," he said.
Skinner may be calling foul play, but perhaps he should take some of his own advice.
"The numbers tell the story," he said following the game.
That's right coach Skinner; they do.
Notre Dame 76, Boston College 75.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.
All Sports Stories for Thursday, February 22, 2001