Coach Mike Brey reached a milestone and four Notre Dame players scored in double figures, led by T.J. Gibbs’ 22 points, as the Fighting Irish began a stretch without its top player by trouncing visiting NC State 88-58 on Wednesday night at the Joyce Center in South Bend, Ind.
The Fighting Irish (12-3, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) played for the first time since All-American forward Bonzie Colson sustained an injury in practice that could cost him about eight weeks after undergoing scheduled foot surgery Thursday. He’s the team leader in every major statistical category.
Brey become Notre Dame’s all-time leader in men’s basketball coaching victories with 394, breaking a tie with former coach Digger Phelps. Brey in his 18th season with the Fighting Irish and is 493-242 overall in his coaching career.
D.J. Harvey and Rex Pflueger scored 17 and 16 points, respectively, for Notre Dame, while Martinas Geben provided 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Four Notre Dame starters made at least two 3-point baskets. Matt Farrell scored nine points on three 3s.
The Irish shot 11-for-25 from 3-point range (with starters checking in at 11-for-21). Overall, they were at 51.8 percent from the field, helping them eclipse their season scoring average that had been 81.3 points per outing.
Allerik Freeman posted 13 points and Lennard Freeman had 10 points for NC State (10-5, 0-2), which opened ACC play with two road games for the first time in 10 years.
The Wolfpack was within 48-36 at halftime, but an 0-for-11 drought from the field to begin the second half put it in a major bind.
NC State, which committed 15 turnovers in the game and shot 36.7 percent from the field, struggled on offense in several stretches. Allerik Freeman made a 3-point basket on his first shot and then missed his next eight attempts.
Notre Dame leads the series with NC State 8-4, including 4-1 in league matchups.
Notre Dame visits Raleigh for a rematch in exactly one month from Wednesday night’s game.