Notre Dame is going to New York, turnovers and all.
Despite 52 turnovers in the first two rounds of the NIT, the Irish advanced to the tournament semifinals on Thursday by beating Siena 107-96.
The Irish (2-0) will take on the winner of Friday's New Mexico St.-Arizona game next week in New York.
"The hair is raising up on my arms as we speak," rookie Notre Dame coach Matt Doherty said of Notre Dame's unexpected trip to the Big Apple.
Against the Buckeyes, they had 25 turnovers but shot 50 percent from the floor.
"When you turn somebody over 20 times and score 96 points, you hope to give yourself a chance to win," said Siena coach Paul Hewitt, who was a candidate for Notre Dame's open coaching position this spring. "We made some runs at them. They stood tough. They did a great job of spreading their shooters out and we weren't doing the job of getting to their shooters."
Most of those easy shots and turnovers came off the Siena (1-1) press.
Troy Murphy was dominant inside, scoring 31 points to lead the Irish.
Notre Dame led by as many 18 points with 11:54 left on Matt Carroll's 15-footer. The Saints were able to chip that down to a nine-point lead just four minutes later. But every time Siena made a charge, the Irish seemed to find an answer.
Usually, it was Carroll or David Graves, both of whom had 16 points.
"I don't know how many (Carroll) made, but it seemed like he made 100 tonight, Hewitt said.
The Irish also were able to hold off Siena by dominating at the free throw line. They were 33-of-39, thanks in part to 34 Siena fouls, while the Saints were 17-of-24.
Marcus Faison scored 22 points to lead Siena.
Notre Dame opened a seven-point lead in the first half on a rare five-point play. Martin Ingelsby hit a 3-pointer and then referees ruled he was fouled after the shot, giving him a 1-and-1 opportunity. Ingelsby hit both to put the Irish up 29-22 with 7:54 left. Notre Dame would lead by as many as 11 before going into the half up 50-41, despite 15 turnovers.
The key to surviving all the surges and turnovers was Notre Dame's intensity, Murphy said.
"I think it comes from coach Doherty," said Murphy, who was 15-of-18 from the line. "It's something we didn't have last year. We go into every game and think we can win and are prepared to win."
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