— By David Walsh
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Marshall University men’s basketball got a rare shot to play at Notre Dame and thanks to clutch foul shooting down the stretch, the Fighting Irish scored a 74-64 win Friday night at Purcell Pavilion.
The game was part of the Men Against Breast Cancer series. This was the second meeting ever between the two teams.
The Thundering Herd (1-2) got within six at 67-61 with 1:49 left on a shot by Taevion Kinsey. Notre Dame (3-1) held off the Herd at the foul line as T.J. Gibbs hit four straight free throws to put the home side up by 10 (71-61) with 27 seconds to play.
After a Kinsey basket with 21 seconds to go, Dane Goodwin made two foul shots one second later to thwart any comeback.
Senior John Mooney paced Notre Dame with a career-high 28 points and 16 rebounds for a double-double. T.J. Gibbs added 15 points for the Irish. On Tuesday, Mooney had 18 points and 16 boards in a 79-50 win over Howard at Purcell Pavilion.
Marshall had three players in double figures. Kinsey led the way with 16 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double. Jarrod West added 14 points and Iran Bennett 10 along with eight rebounds.
“I thought the defense was really good after we got past the first seven minutes and I think we outscored them by seven after that point,” Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni said. “We just have to keep going. There are never morale victories.
“But for a young team, and I wouldn’t say this about last year’s team, but this young team played well and didn’t get knocked off the floor. They came back, found their composure and I think we have to keep growing from here.”
Notre Dame, playing the second home game in streak of six, took a 40-29 lead at halftime. The Irish are now 13-4 all-time against Conference USA schools.
“I thought this would be challenge for us,” Irish coach Mike Brey said. “Certainly did enough on the defensive end to escape.”
On Mooney, Brey said: “I still think he’s too unselfish at times. Kind of a new role for him.”
On the boards, the Irish enjoyed a 54-43 edge. Notre Dame had seven three-pointers to four for Marshall.
The Thundering Herd’s visit to Purcell Pavilion has been 106 years in waiting. The 1912-13 season featured the Irish playing in eight cities in eight days. A trip to Huntington was the fourth game in the trip for the Irish, who prevailed 27-9.
Notre Dame jumped to an early 25-8 lead in the first half.
Marshall returns to Cam Henderson Center on Tuesday to face College of Charleston. Tip is 7 p.m.