MILFORD, Del. -- Bill Barton was emphatic on Tuesday night. Gary Ervin (right), his 5-10 star point guard headed to Mississippi State next fall, wouldn't be playing on Friday night at the War on the Shore basketball tournament.
Ervin, who suffered a high ankle sprain after pumping in 32 points in the Crusaders' loss to Winchendon on Tuesday night, did his best Kirk Gibson impression last night.
He knocked down a pair of three pointers from the left corner to jump start Notre Dame to a 6-0 lead, and the Crusaders never looked back in a 94-53 victory over National Christian Academy.
"We were hoping to have Gary back for the MCI tournament in December," Barton said. "He stayed off it for two days, and I'm not sure what happened, I looked at it yesterday, and there was no swelling, no blood, and I was shocked."
"He said to me today that he was 100 percent, and that I expect to start, play and win," Barton continued. "I said, no problem, I won't ask you again."
Ervin played mostly off the ball last night, as more of a shooting guard than a point guard.
He finished with 12 points on 5 of 14 shooting, but his mere presence in the lineup was a huge boost for Notre Dame, which got out to a 17 point first half lead and kept building it throughout the second half, winning by 41.
"I think we needed to come out strong tonight, and Gary and a lot of the guys came out with a lot more energy than they've had lately," Barton said.
The Crusaders suffered a pair of tough early season losses to Winchendon and the New Hampton School this month, and Barton said that Ervin and his co-captain partner Bill Begley called a pair of players only meetings this week.
Whatever they talked about in those meetings, it obviously worked, as Notre Dame posted four players in double figures and substituted liberally throughout the second half in what turned into a laugher.
"They decided that we weren't going to have any more letdowns," Barton said. "They came out and gave it their all, because if they lost, they didn't want to say we didn't play hard."
"Gary was the key early, and Joel Davila gave us a huge lift in both halves off the bench," Barton said.