SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Freshmen Nate Laszewski, Robby Carmody and Dane Goodwin were among five Notre Dame players to score in double figures as the youthful Fighting Irish cruised by Illinois-Chicago 84-67 Tuesday night’s season opener.
The 6-foot-10 Laszewski led the way with 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench.
Carmody – who became the first freshman to start an opener for Notre Dame since Torin Francis in 2002 – added 11 points in 14 minutes. Goodwin finished with 10 points.
Junior John Mooney and sophomore D.J. Harvey also scored 10 for the Irish.
Notre Dame built a 46-23 advantage by halftime and was up by a high of 76-40 with 8:48 to go before the Flames narrowed the gap by scoring 16 of the game’s final 18 points.
Marcus Ottey led UIC with 17 points. Tarkus Ferguson added 12.
The Irish drained 36 of 38 free throws to overcome their 22-of-62 effort from the field.
Notre Dame rolled despite its two returning starters, T.J. Gibbs and Rex Pflueger, combining for just 14 points and 3-of-18 field-goal shooting.
Notre Dame: The young Irish were effective in beginning the task of cutting their teeth against a strained-carrot kind of schedule early. All of ND’s first seven games are at home – the program’s longest such start in 32 years – and none of those contests will be against any of the 53 teams that received a vote in the AP preseason poll.
UIC: Coming off a 20-16 record, this was one of just two opportunities for the Flames to burn bright this season against a team from a Power Five conference. The other comes Dec. 8 at Colorado.
Notre Dame: welcomes a team from the Windy City for the second time in three days when Chicago State comes to town Thursday.
UIC: playing three straight road games to start the season for the first time in program history, the Flames visit defending Big South champion Radford on Friday in a first-ever meeting.