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Published: Saturday, November 09, 2019 @ 2:08 PM
Updated: Saturday, November 09, 2019 @ 2:07 PM
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Mike Brey liked what he saw at both ends of the court, and particularly in light of how young this college basketball season is.
"This is what, 20 home openers?" Brey said of his time as Notre Dame coach following Saturday's 92-57 blowout victory over Robert Morris.
"I don't know if I've ever been more pleased about one, given what I needed to see after last year," the coach said. "I saw some stuff today that I was going, man, that's really good to see in November."
Last season, the Fighting Irish (1-1) went 14-19, their worst record under Brey. On Saturday, according to the coach, they were a team that was fast, yet controlled, on offense, a team that guarded effectively and a team that performed fearlessly.
Dane Goodwin led a balanced attack with 18 points off the bench as Notre Dame improved to 20-0 in home openers under Brey.
T.J. Gibbs added 15 points, Prentiss Hubb 13, Robby Carmody 13 and John Mooney a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Already leading 39-20 at the break, the ball-sharing Irish effectively put the game away with a 16-2 spree over the first four minutes of the second half for a 55-23 advantage. All five ND starters scored during that spurt.
Josh Williams netted 18 of his game-high 21 points for the Colonials (0-2) in the second half, finishing 6-of-16 on 3-pointers, but little else went right for the visitors.
"I thought our effort was horrendous," RMU coach Andrew Toole said. "Obviously, their guys really know how to play. They take advantage of any crack in your armor. They'll expose your weaknesses if you're not engaged or urgent, and they did it to us all day long."
The Irish shot 57% from the field while holding the Colonials to 34%. Notre Dame also made 22 of 25 free throws to the visitors' 2 of 4.
"I think we sent a big message today," senior Rex Pflueger said of ND's bounce back from Tuesday's season-opening 76-65 loss at No. 9 North Carolina. "It was a tough game down there. We had a real shot to win, but the maturity to come to practice the next day and get after it, get after each other, and to come into today and play the way we did, I think it sends a good message."
Robert Morris: The Colonials, who appeared to offer little in the way of defensive resistance, will need to get accustomed to trying to solve opposing offenses on the road. Nine of their first 11 games are away from home.
Notre Dame: Returning nearly their entire team from a season ago, the Irish have a chance to continue building momentum before they get into the thick of their Atlantic Coast Conference schedule. Just two of their first 15 games are against currently ranked clubs and one of those already took place with the loss at Carolina.
Goodwin's 18 in just 18 minutes were part of 42 points that the Irish bench contributed. Carmody's 13 points also came in a reserve role.
"We didn't have any drop-off," said Brey, who indicated that he'll likely remain comfortable with a rotation of nine players.
Goodwin finished 6 of 8 from the field and 5 of 5 at the line, while Carmody was 4 of 6 and 5 of 6. Nate Laszewski chipped in nine points and eight rebounds over 15 minutes off the bench.
All three are sophomores.
Hubb's 5-of-8 shooting included 3 of 6 outside the arc, and it followed the sophomore guard's career-high 22 points at Carolina.
Hubb is 13 of 25 from the field overall and 8 of 15 on 3-pointers over two games after struggling mightily during his freshman season at just 35% overall and 26% on triples.
"He's a big-time threat," Brey said. "He's really quarterbacking us now, running stuff, and now our (other) passers find him. I love that he's stepping up and taking it. He was streaky last year, but throughout his life, he's been able to make open shots, so I just want him confidently pulling up."
Robert Morris: The Colonials host neighboring nemesis Pittsburgh on Tuesday in their only home contest among their first seven games. RMU has never beaten the Panthers over 30 meetings, the last coming in November 2011.
Notre Dame: The Irish play the second of six straight home games when Howard visits Tuesday. Notre Dame has never faced the Bison.