NEWARK, Del. — For the first time since 2000, Mike Brey was on the sideline as a coach inside the Bob Carpenter Center.
Only this time, he was coaching against the Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens. Brey and the ninth-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish were in town for a non-conference match-up in front of close to 5,000 fans in snowy Newark.
Brey led the Blue Hens to the NCAA Tournament in both 1998 and 1999, and is a member of the UD Athletics Hall of Fame. Fans were excited about his return to the sideline, regardless of what team he was coaching for, as he helped the team become a name on the national scale during his time as the head coach.
Delaware’s current head coach, Martin Ingelsby, was an assistant under Brey for 13 seasons after playing his senior year at Notre Dame for coach Brey in 2000-01. The two agreed to the game due to their long ties to one another, and it didn’t disappoint.
This game could be seen as a welcome home party for Notre Dame’s Mike Brey, who began his head coaching career in Delaware before starting his tenure in South Bend.
Brey coached the Fightin’ Blue Hens from 1995-2000, going 99-51 in five years, leading them to two NCAA Tournament appearances and two America East Championships.
Delaware is currently 4-5 on the season, losing their most recent game to the Buffalo Bulls, 75-72, and are coached by Martin Ingelsby, who was an assistant coach for the Fighting Irish from 2009-2016.
SOUTH BEND, IN. — With 10 seconds left on the clock, the score tied at 77 and the ball in the hands of Ball State‘s Tayler Persons, the Cardinals’ leading scorer drained a last-second three pointer to shock the Notre Dame Fighting Irish inside the Purcell Pavilion, 80-77.
Prior to the 10th meeting between the Irish and the Cardinals, Notre Dame had claimed victories in all nine previous games, with their last win coming back in 1976.
Notre Dame has never let Ball State come close to ever upsetting them. Yesterday was a different story.
SOUTH BEND, IN – The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will not get much of a break before returning to the court Tuesday night, as they will host the Ball State Cardinals of the Mid-American Conference (MAC).
Notre Dame is coming off a 71-53 win over the St. Francis (BKN) Terriers, a game that saw them lose both Bonzie Colson and Head Coach Mike Brey towards the end of the game due to ejections. Colson was ejected for a flagrant two foul, while Brey was thrown out for disagreeing.
It made for an interesting Sunday!
Ball State, on the other hand, is currently 4-4 on the season, and the Cardinals are coming off of a win against the IUPUI Jaguars, 83-64.
While the Terriers are not the flashiest opponent, the game brought plenty of excitement, as Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey and Bonzie Colson were tossed from the game with six minutes left in the second half.
Sunday afternoon’s game marked the first time in 23 years that Mike Brey has ever been thrown out from a game.
The ejections did not concern the Irish one bit, as they handled the Terriers with ease towards the end. But, what should concern the Irish is the fact that the bench continued to under perform, even against an opponent like St. Francis.
Just as the Fighting Irish were coming off of a tournament championship win, beating the then sixth-ranked Wichita State Shockers, Michigan State also found success in early tournament play, winning the Victory bracket of the inaugural PK80 Invitational against the then ninth-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels.
In their game against the Tar Heels, the Spartans showed dominance both defensively and offensively, which transitioned into their tilt with the #5 team in the country Thursday night.
Michigan State threw Notre Dame off their offensive rhythm they showed during the Maui Invitational, keeping them out of the paint, limiting their points on the fast break, and forcing them to take unbalanced shots. The Irish were no better on defense, as their transition defense failed to stop the Spartans, and they were out-manned down low with Michigan State getting too many second chances.
While it is one loss and it came from a team that one could argue is the best in the country, Notre Dame is starting to show us who they really are.
Here are three things we learned about Notre Dame in their loss to Michigan State.