CHICAGO (AP) T.J. Gibbs scored 21 points to lead No. 14 Notre Dame to a 72-58 victory over DePaul on Saturday in the season opener for both teams.
Bonzie Colson had 18 points and 13 rebounds and Matt Farrell added 15 points for the Irish, who have Final Four aspirations after going 26-10 overall and 12-6 in the ACC last season.
Eli Cain and Tre’Darius McCallum scored 14 points apiece for DePaul, which went 9-23 last season. Max Strus added 11 points and Devin Gage had 10.
The Irish – who were picked by the media to finish third behind No. 1 Duke and No. 9 North Carolina in the ACC – made 9 of 12 3-point attempts after halftime. They hit 12 of 27 from beyond the arc overall and shot 47.2 percent from the field to DePaul’s 33.8 percent.
Colson, the ACC Preseason Player of the Year, posted his 24th career double-double after recording 19 last season to lead the conference. He led Notre Dame in scoring at 17.8 points per game and rebounding at 10.1 last season to earn third-team AP All-America honors.
Gibbs’ previous career-high was 13 points.
DePaul pulled within 31-30 before Strus missed on an alley-oop attempt and Notre Dame responded with 3s by Gibbs and Farrell to extend the lead to seven.
The Irish began the second half by making 8 of 10 from beyond the arc to build a 13-point lead after shooting 3-of-15 on 3s before halftime.
The Irish led 29-25 at halftime behind Colson’s nine points and six rebounds. Cain’s putback tied it at 22 with 4:22 left before Colson and Gibbs answered with jumpers. DePaul turned the ball over just twice but shot 28.1 percent from the field to Notre Dame’s 39.3 percent.
With a lively crowd on hand, DePaul unveiled its new home court at the 10,000-seat, $193 million Wintrust Arena on the city’s Near South Side.
The Blue Demons hope to elevate their program with the new arena seven miles from campus. DePaul’s previous home court at AllState Arena was 14 miles away in the suburb of Rosemont. The Blue Demons played in Rosemont for 37 years.
DePaul is 41-171 in the Big East since joining the conference in 2005-06 and last made the NCAA Tournament in 2004.
Notre Dame hosts Mount St. Mary’s on Monday.
DePaul hosts Delaware State on Monday.
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