Geben leads balanced Notre Dame past Hampton
There was no letdown for Notre Dame Tuesday night after just missing out on an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Martinas Geben scored 18 points to lead a balanced attack as the top-seeded Fighting Irish routed eighth-seeded Hampton 84-63 in the first round of the NIT at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Ind.
Geben was 7 of 9 from the field for Notre Dame (21-14), which advances to the second round and will host either Penn State or Temple, who play on Wednesday night.
TJ Gibbs added 17, hitting three 3-pointers, while Bonzie Colson chipped in a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Jermaine Marrow paced the Pirates (19-16), which won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's regular season title, with a game-high 21 points.
But Marrow was just 8 of 25 from the field, illustrating his team's bigger problem. Hampton made only 30 percent of its shots, including a measly 4 of 23 in the third quarter.
Charles Wilson-Fisher added 13 in just 17 minutes before fouling out, and Kalin Fisher scored 12 points for the Pirates.
Playing four quarters under rules adopted for this tournament, the Irish got off to a strong start. Geben's three-point play with 49 seconds left in the first gave them a 23-12 lead, and they took a 23-16 advantage to the second quarter.
Matt Ferrell splashed a 3-pointer with 4:03 left in the second to make it a 39-20 game, and Notre Dame answered a short Hampton run with a dunk by Austin Torres 13 seconds before the half for a 46-34 edge at the break.
A 20-9 third quarter put this one to bed. Rex Pflueger's 3-pointer at the 3:01 mark pushed the lead over 20 for the first time, and Gibbs' layup upped the advantage to 66-43 after three.
The game was never in doubt during the fourth quarter.
The Irish shot just 41.8 percent from the field, but more than made up for it by committing just seven turnovers and winning the rebounding battle 55-49.
--Field Level Media
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