Mar. 12, 1997
Irish Make Grand Return to Postseason
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Admore White scored 18 points and Pat Garrity added 16 as Notre Dame pulled away in the second half for a 74-58 victory over Oral Roberts in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.
The Fighting Irish (15-13) outscored Oral Roberts 35-19 over the final 18 minutes and will play the winner of the game between Alabama Birmingham and TCU in the second round.
Matt Gotsch added 15 points for Notre Dame, which played its first postseason game since the 1992 NIT.
Tim Gill scored 21 points for Oral Roberts (21-7), which played its first postseason game since losing to Memphis State in the first round of the 1984 NCAA Tournament.
The game marked the first-ever meeting between the schools.
NOTRE DAME PLAYERS
Pat Garrity On Oral Roberts: " I have alot of respect for this team. They never gave up tonight they just kept coming at us. They would not go away long enough for us to totally put them away."
On the pressure under the basket: "It was really rough all night long. You had to push your way around to get anywhere out there. This was one of the more physical game I have played in all year."
Admore White on the ND seniors: " We all knew that we needed to step it up down the stretch. We did not want to go away to quickly. Gotsch came out and really showed what he can do for this team."
On the NIT: "We are just happy to be here still playing in the post -season. We are going out there to have fun and enjoy ourselves. We are happy that the NIT invited us into their tournament."
Matt Gotsch On postseason play: " It is nice to be playing in the post-season rather than being at home on spring break. It is good to know that we are in a better position this year than we were last year at this time. I am just going out there to have as much fun as I possibly can."
On his play in the game: " It was just a good day for me today. I went out in practice before the game and was just hitting shots I felt good. In the game I did what I had to do to help the team.
NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH JOHN MACLEOD
General: "Our club played very well. We had very few turnovers in the game. We shot the ball well and 63 percent in the first half is better than well, it's excellent. The second half it was really a gutsy defensive effort. Admore (White) had some big hoops. Pat (Garrity) had some big hoops. This was a great effort for us."
On Pete Miller guarding Tim Gill: "Pete did a great job on defense. The only way you can guard Gill is basically the way Pete did it and that is not to give him any daylight. Pete did a great job on him and Gill is a tremendous player."
On Phil Hickey starting: "He played very well. I believe this is his first time playing 30 minutes and he has been showing considerable improvement in practice and he played well. If we can keep getting that kind of production out of the center spot, we will be in good shape. Phil played very, very well."
On bouncing back after the Syracuse game: "Every time we have a tough game, these kids bounce back the next time with a vigor which is really interesting. This is a group that feels good about themselves. They like to win and they enjoy team play. I think everyone was disappointed with the way we played Syracuse. We wanted to knock them off for three in a row, but they were the better team last week. The encouraging thing is our kids keep bouncing back and bouncing back. You keep talking about character and resiliency but those are two words that really describe this Notre Dame basketball team."
Coming into the game/Oral Roberts: "We were really concerned about Oral Roberts. They have had a tremendous year. They have an excellent team. They are very well coached and they have excellent shooters. They have a tremendous team and they have most of those kids back next year so they will be tough again."
On Tim Gill: "I think if you look at Gill you see how difficult he is to guard. We tried everything on him and he still scored 21 points."
ORAL ROBERTS PLAYERS
Tim Gill on Notre Dame's defense: "You have to give Notre Dame a lot of credit. They pushed us out our offense and made of us do things we shouldn't have."
On Notre Dame's scouting: "They did the best job scouting us all year. They made it difficult for us to run our offense. They pushed us off our screens. They knew when are picks were coming."
On the game: "In the beginning we didn't get the couple of breaks we needed. Down the stretch we could've made a run, but we didn't take advantage of the chances we had. We just didn't execute when we could have run."
Rocky Walls on the ORU teams first post-season play since 1984: "Of course we had some jitters about playing in the post season, but that does not explain our play tonight."
On the game: "We just weren't us tonight. The things that got us here were not there (on the court) tonight."
ORAL ROBERTS HEAD COACH BILL SELF
On the game: "We played hard, but we didn't play well. We've played better this season. We just didn't get it done tonight and never got in sync offensively. We're not as effective when teams force us to put the ball on the floor and that is what Notre Dame did tonight."
On Notre Dame's ability to hit key shots: "Notre Dame made some key shots. They do a good job of finding the open player. I thought we did a good job on Garrity, but other players stepped up."
On the physical nature of the game: The officials let the game get physical and that is definitely not to our advantage. Notre Dame is one of the most physical teams we've played all season and they are very sound offensively."
On Admore White's three-point play: "That really hurt because we had the ball five times when we were down by four and we came up empty. We had our chances, but Notre Dame made the key shots. Admore's three-point play and three-pointers were real back-breakers. He really took over the game."
ORAL ROBERTS (58) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Walls 26 7-14 1-6 3-5 0 5 15 Gill 37 8-13 2-2 1-3 2 3 21 Moses 27 3-7 0-0 2-8 4 2 6 Kruse 6 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 Mcclellan 32 1-8 0-1 1-3 3 0 2 Crenshaw 24 1-5 0-0 0-1 1 1 2 Belton Jr. 1 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Wilkerson 13 2-4 0-0 1-2 2 0 5 Scruggs 12 1-6 2-2 2-6 0 4 4 Perry 8 1-1 0-0 0-1 0 1 3 Taylor 11 0-1 0-1 2-2 0 0 0 Henderson 2 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 0 0 Sumrall 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 24-61 5-12 12-32 12 17 58 _______________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.393, FT-.417. 3-Point Goals: 5-12, .417 (Gill 3-3, Mcclellan 0-3, Crenshaw 0-3, Wilkerson 1-2, Perry 1-1). Team rebounds: 1. Blocked shots: 2 (Wilkerson, Scruggs). Turnovers: 16 (Gill 4, Mcclellan 2, Walls 2, Crenshaw, Moses, Scruggs, Wilkerson). Steals: 10 (Mcclellan 4, Crenshaw 3, Gill, Scruggs, Walls). NOTRE DAME (74) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Manner 30 3-5 3-4 0-2 1 1 9 Garrity 32 6-15 3-4 1-6 2 3 16 Hickey 30 4-7 1-2 3-8 0 3 9 Miller 30 1-3 2-2 1-4 3 2 5 White 34 5-10 5-7 1-6 9 3 18 Wyche 12 0-2 0-0 0-3 1 0 0 Lalazarian 11 1-1 0-0 1-1 1 1 2 Friel 5 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 0 0 Dillon 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Gotsch 15 7-9 1-2 0-3 1 1 15 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 27-52 15-21 7-34 18 14 74 _______________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.519, FT-.714. 3-Point Goals: 5-12, .417 (Garrity 1-3, Miller 1-1, White 3-7, Wyche 0-1). Team rebounds: 3. Blocked shots: 2 (Gotsch 2). Turnovers: 18 (White 5, Garrity 4, Manner 3, Miller 3, Hickey, Lalazarian, Wyche). Steals: 16 (Hickey 11, Manner 2, Lalazarian, Miller, White). __________________________________ Oral Roberts 29 29 - 58 Notre Dame 35 39 - 74 __________________________________ Technical fouls: None. A: 3,808. Officials: Tom Harrington, Larry Wade, Alan Libardoni.