Associated Press DePaul's Eli Cain battles Notre Dame's T.J. Gibbs for a rebound during the second half Saturday. Gibbs scored 21 points to lead the Irish.
Sunday, November 12, 2017 1:00 am
Notre Dame 72 DePaul 58
Irish cruises to win at DePaul
Notre Dame hits 12 3-point shots
SARAH TROTTO | Associated Press
CHICAGO – Matt Farrell has been spreading the good news about Notre Dame teammate T.J. Gibbs.
Gibbs' play backed up Farrell's words Saturday.
Gibbs scored 21 points to lead the No. 14 Irish to a 72-58 victory over DePaul in the season opener for both teams.
“It's been a lot of fun to play with him,” Farrell said about Gibbs, who shot 7 of 11 from the field. “I've been telling people that since the summer, that he's going to have a big year. Strong driver, shoots it way better than people think, and you saw that tonight. He's confident. He's another Jersey guy, so it's a lot of fun to play with him.”
Bonzie Colson had 18 points and 13 rebounds, and Farrell added 15 points for the Irish, who have Final Four aspirations after going 26-10 overall and 12-6 in the ACC last season.
Eli Cain and Tre'Darius McCallum scored 14 points apiece for DePaul, which went 9-23 last season. Max Strus added 11 points and Devin Gage had 10. Former North Side star Jaylen Butz scored two points.
The Irish – who were picked by the media to finish third behind No. 1 Duke and No. 9 North Carolina in the ACC – made 9 of 12 3-point attempts in the second half.
“We've been really working on that all season, all offseason,” Gibbs said.
Notre Dame hit 12 of 27 from beyond the arc overall and shot 47.2 percent from the field to DePaul's 33.8 percent.
Colson, the ACC Preseason Player of the Year, posted his 24th career double-double after recording 19 last season to lead the conference. He led Notre Dame in scoring at 17.8 points per game and rebounding at 10.1 last season to earn third-team AP All-America honors.
Gibbs' previous career-high was 13 points.
“He's coming into his own, scoring, talking, and he's become a little bit of a leader too, talking more on both sides of the floor,” Colson said. “When he shoots the ball, he's in attack mode. That's what we need out of him.”
DePaul pulled within 31-30 before Strus missed on an alley-oop attempt and Notre Dame responded with 3s by Gibbs and Farrell to extend the lead to seven.
The Irish began the second half by making 8 of 10 from beyond the arc to build a 13-point lead.
“We came out aggressive, but we slacked in the second half,” Gage said. “I feel like we have a great team this year, and we'll continue to progress.”
With a lively crowd on hand, DePaul unveiled its new home court at the 10,000-seat, $193 million Wintrust Arena on the city's Near South Side.