Notre Dame, which entered the season looking for a third scoring option behind seniors Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell, may have found the answer in sophomore guard T.J. Gibbs. The New Jersey native is averaging 17.7 points for the 14th-ranked Irish, which faces Chaminade on Monday in the Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center.
Gibbs recorded a career high for the second time in three games in Thursday’s 105-66 win over Chicago State, finishing with 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. Notre Dame has also received a welcome boost from freshman swingman D.J. Harvey, who scored a career-high 16 points in 22 minutes off the bench against Chicago State and drew high praise from coach Mike Brey. “He’s really a gifted guy,” Brey told reporters. “(Thursday’s game) may have been the most important for him. He gets 22 minutes third time he’s had the jersey on. It was a great night for him. He’s very important for us.” The Irish will need to rely on their depth in Maui, where they’ll open a stretch of three games in three days by facing Division II Chaminade.
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ABOUT NOTRE DAME (3-0): A consensus preseason All-American, Colson has been as good as advertised in wins over DePaul, Mount St. Mary’s and Chicago State, averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds while shooting 61.5 percent from the field. Farrell is averaging 15.3 points for the Irish, who have won 21 or more games in 10 of their last 11 seasons and appear well-equipped to reach that mark again this season. Brey continues to rave about junior guard Rex Pflueger, who is averaging 7.7 points and seven boards and has moved into the starting lineup after serving as a key reserve last season.
ABOUT CHAMINADE (2-0): Senior guard Justin Bridges averages a team-high 12 points to lead the Silverswords, who opened with wins over Alaska (71-58) and Alaska Anchorage (71-65). Coach Eric Bovaird’s squad was picked to finish sixth in the Pacific West Conference preseason coaches poll but has the size to compete near the basket with seven players listed at 6-foot-7 or taller. The team’s lone returning starter, senior guard Austin Pope, was named to the PacWest Preseason Team but has struggled early, missing 18 of his first 25 shots from the field and all five of his 3-point attempts.
1. Notre Dame continues tournament play against either LSU or Michigan on Tuesday.
2. Chaminade is hosting the Maui Invitational for the 33rd year, with its best finish coming in 1984 when the Silverswords were runner-up to Providence.
3. Farrell has made at least one 3-pointer in 29 consecutive games, the longest streak of any current ACC player.
PREDICTION: Notre Dame 84, Chaminade 63