LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — T.J. Gibbs scored 26 points, Matt Farrell added 17 and Notre Dame dominated LSU 92-53 on Tuesday night to reach the Maui Invitational championship game.
The Irish (5-0) expectedly breezed through their opener against Division II Chaminade did the same thing to LSU in their first game against a power program this season.
Notre Dame shot well, shut the Tigers down on defense and were in control from the opening tip in a superb all-around game.
Bonzie Colson had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Irish, who shot 52 percent and hit 15 of 32 from 3-point range.
Next up: A top-of-the-marquee title game against No. 6 Wichita State on Wednesday night.
LSU (3-1) lost starting guard Brandon Sampson to an ankle injury in the game’s opening minute and struggled without one of its top defensive players.
The Tigers had trouble slowing the Irish on defense and labored from the perimeter on offense, hitting 6 of 23 shots from the 3-point arc while shooting 36 percent overall. Duop Reath led LSU with 17 points.
LSU beat Michigan 77-75 in its Maui opener behind the stellar play of Tremont Waters. The talented freshman point guard had 21 points and set up the go-ahead basket with a spectacular over-the-shoulder, no-look assist from his knees.
Notre Dame had a much easier road to the semifinals, dominating Chaminade from the start of an 83-56 rout.
The Tigers had a tough break on their first possession of the semifinals, when Sampson came down on someone’s foot and rolled his left ankle. He had to be helped off the court, leaving LSU without arguably its best defensive player.
The Irish took advantage, scoring at the rim and the 3-point arc during a 15-2 run that put them up 25-10. Farrell had the highlight-reel play of the spurt, bouncing a pass between the long legs of 6-foot-11 Reath to set up Martinas Geben for a dunk.
Notre Dame didn’t let up, hitting seven 3-pointers, 15 of 31 shots overall and holding the Tigers to 1-for-8 shooting from the arc for a 40-24 halftime lead.
The Irish continued to stretch the lead in the second half, using a 6-0 burst midway through to go up 61-35.
Notre Dame turned its first game against a power program into a laugher with a strong effort on both ends of the court.
LSU was hurt by the loss of Sampson, but it may not have mattered the way the Irish played.
Notre Dame plays No. 6 Wichita State in Wednesday’s championship game.
LSU gets Marquette in the third-place game on Wednesday.