Notre Dame faces Mount St. Mary's in home opener

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The No. 14 Notre Dame Fighting Irish will tip off their home schedule when they host the Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers on Monday night.

Notre Dame (1-0) passed its first road test by pulling away for a 72-58 win over DePaul on Saturday. Now, coach Mike Brey's squad will return to the Edmund P. Joyce Center, where it went 16-2 last season.

The first visitor to campus will be Mount St. Mary's (0-1), which has embraced a difficult nonconference schedule early in the season. The Mountaineers dropped their season opener 80-59 to Marquette on Friday.

Fighting Irish forward Bonzie Colson will look to notch his second straight double-double after scoring 18 points and pulling down 13 rebounds in the season opener. Guard T.J. Gibbs scored a career-high 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting.

The collective effort impressed Brey, who moved within 11 wins of becoming the program's all-time leader in coaching victories.

"There's a mental toughness and belief around this nucleus that they're going to find a way to do it," Brey said to the South Bend Tribune.

Colson said Notre Dame's depth and toughness helped to set it apart. Seven players scored in the season opener, including five players who scored five points or more.

"We have a lot of different options," said Colson, who was tabbed as the ACC Preseason Player of the Year. "We had that 'road dog' mentality still, digging in and fighting through when the other team goes on that run. When we have a group that can do that, we can be special."

For Mount St. Mary's, senior guard Junior Robinson stood out in the season opener with 20 points and six assists. The performance marked Robinson's 13th career game with 20 points or more.

The Mountaineers won 20 games and reached the NCAA Tournament last season for the second time in five years. This year represents a transition season for the program, which lost several players to graduation and transfers.

Mount St. Mary's coach Jamion Christian said he liked his team's attitude as it continued to develop chemistry.

"We can't redo last season," Christian said to the Carroll County Times. "We don't have the same guys. All the situations are different.

"There's going to be a ton of adverse situations that pop up through the course of the year that are different than a year ago. The personalities are different. Guys grow. They change. They mature. It's definitely not an encore, but it's definitely a talented group of guys who have a singular purpose and a great hunger."

This marks the third all-time meeting between Notre Dame and Mt. St. Mary's. The Fighting Irish have won both previous meetings, both of which came with Brey as head coach.

The first meeting took place Nov. 29, 2003, when Notre Dame cruised to a 78-64 win. The programs squared off again Dec. 9, 2014, when Notre Dame cruised to a 93-67 rout.
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