SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Chris Thomas set a school record in his Notre Dame debut with 11 steals and added 24 points and 11 assists to become the first Irish player to record a triple double in a 95-53 win Friday night over New Hampshire in the season opener for both teams.
Thomas' 10th steal with 7:51 left in the game was the 23rd steal of the night for the Irish, breaking a school record set against Vermont in 1976. Notre Dame finished with 26 steals.
The Irish were in control throughout, disrupting the Wildcats' uptempo attack with tight defense, forcing 30 turnovers. The Irish also had little difficulty scoring against New Hampshire.
The Irish went on a 21-1 run early in the first half to open a 26-7 lead at 11:31. Thomas started the run with a driving layup and finished it with a 3-pointer as the Irish made nine of their 13 shots during the run while the Wildcats missed all six of their shots and turned the ball over three times.
Notre Dame led 48-26 at the half and the final score was its biggest lead. David Graves led the Irish with 26 points and Jere Macura added 14.
Austin Ganly led the Wildcats with 23 points and Chris Brown had 13 points and seven rebounds. The Wildcats shot only 31.5 percent while the Irish shot 51.3 percent.
Thomas had seven steals in the first half alone, which was the previous school record set by Ray Martin against Northwestern on Dec. 4, 1974. He got his eighth steal just 18 seconds into the second half.
The Irish were without Ryan Humphrey, their top returning scorer and rebounder, because he is serving a two-game suspension for violating an NCAA rule against a player taking part in summer leagues more than 100 miles from their school or home.