Gibbs and Mooney help Irish avert Eagles upset bid, 63-56

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - T.J. Gibbs scored 15 points to lead three Notre Dame players in double figures as the Irish survived 28-percent shooting in the second half and an upset bid by winless Coppin State 63-56 on Saturday.

John Mooney added 14 points and eight rebounds and Dane Goodwin had 13 points as Mike Brey's Irish (10-3) concluded their nonconference schedule. Notre Dame opens Atlantic Coast Conference play January 1 at No. 10 Virginia Tech.

Cedric Council had 12 points and 17 rebounds for Juan Dixon's Eagles (0-15). Dejuan Clayton added 12 points.

Notre Dame broke out to a 25-13 lead on Mooney's slam with 7:41 to play and Dixon called the second of his three timeouts. Whatever he said got through as the Eagles, who led briefly early, closed on a 14-4 run and trailed just 29-27 at halftime.

Notre Dame, which had the lead for 18:10, finished the first half hitting just one field goal - Gibbs' close-in jumper with 35 seconds remaining - in six attempts and committed four turnovers. The Irish were also outrebounded 22-16 by the hustling Eagles, who got eight points from Clayton with the help of two 3-pointers. Coppin State might have even led if not for four blocked shots by Juwan Durham.

Durham had his fifth block in the first minute. But the Eagles started with a 7-2 run with Lamar Morgan and Clayton hitting 3-pointers to take a 34-31 into the media break at 15:41 as the Irish made just one of eight shots.

Goodwin's 3-pointer tied it when play resumed, but the Eagles used a 6-0 run in 1:09 to grab a 42-36 lead when Brey called timeout at 12:53. Clayton gave Coppin State a 44-36 lead after play resumed. Council's 3-pointer with 9:53 left gave Coppin State a 47-38 lead and the Irish seemed to be in trouble.

But Notre Dame responded with a 21-4 run in 5:06 that included a flagrant foul by Justin Steers as Mooney tried to dunk. Mooney scored seven in the Irish run, including a 3-pointer, as Notre Dame went up 59-51 with 4:47 left.

BIG PICTURE

Coppin State: The Eagles have not played at their Baltimore home since December 9, when they lost 64-55 to Tennessee State. Saturday's game was their fourth straight on the road and followed a 75-44 loss at No. 22 Houston December 23. Dixon, who led Maryland to the 2002 NCAA title, had one player in double figures - senior Lamar Morgan averaged 10 points coming into the contest. Coppin State was ranked 352 out of 353 Division I teams in the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) that will be used by NCAA to seed the tournament.

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish, No. 54 in the NET rankings, finish their season with 18 straight Atlantic Coast Conference contests. They played Saturday without two players with season-ending injuries - senior tri-captain Rex Pflueger (torn knee ligament) and freshman Robby Carmody (torn labrum). With December graduate Elijah Burns taking his eligibility to Siena, Brey had 10 players dressed to play, although freshman Chris Doherty is expected to be redshirted.

UP NEXT

Coppin State: Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener against visiting Savannah State next Saturday.

Notre Dame: ACC opener at No. 10 Virginia Tech Tuesday.

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12/29/2018 2:13:36 PM (GMT -5:00)