It wasn’t easy, but it was effective.
Despite being outplayed in the first half and being down by nine points early in the second half, Notre Dame fought back to earn a much-needed 88-81 victory over Wake Forest Tuesday.
The Irish were enigmatic on the offensive end for much of the first half, but found their shooting touch in the second half. While the Irish hit timely threes, Colson was the catalyst all night. The junior had a career-high 27 points and 16 rebounds.
As mentioned in the preview, the Demon Deacons are a much-improved team from a season ago.
They established a lead midway through the first half and held off the Irish for as long as they could.
John Collins was a beast down low. The Irish didn’t have an answer for Collins for the entire first half and the sophomore finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds (nine of which were offensive boards).
The Demon Deacons are a young team and Danny Manning has is team poised to make some noise in the ACC in the future.
– Notre Dame’s big four (Colson, Farrell, Beachem, Vasturia) accounted for 79 of the 88 points scored by the Irish. That’s a great sign for those four, but troubling that the supporting cast could not make a more significant contribution.
– It was good to see Vasturia break out of his slump. He shot 4-7 including 3-5 from three for 17 points.
– The Irish offense still struggled in the half court. They found their rhythm once they pushed the tempo off of missed shots on the other end.
– Notre Dame tallied 52 points in the second half.
– The offense seems to stick in the mud sometimes in the half court, which allows the defense to get comfortable. More penetration from the guards is key – that allows the defense to collapse and gives open looks on the perimeter.
– The gold uniforms made their first appearance of the season for the Irish. Aesthetically, I like the green jerseys they wore against Iowa this year better, but can’t argue with the track record of the gold.
– The Irish registered 12 blocks in the game, including a career-high five from Colson and four from Beachem.
– Notre Dame shot 13-27 (48.1%) from three.
– Although they did not tally a ton of points Gibbs and Pflueger provided great energy of the bench and tremendous defensive intensity.
– Beachem hit key threes and totaled 19 points, but only had one rebound in the contest. If the Irish are to gain more consistency on the glass, there needs to be more team rebounding – can’t count on Colson grabbing 16 boards.
– Tuesday marked the fourth straight win for the Irish over Wake Forest.
– Moving forward, the defense is still a concern. Brey is willing to concede some second-chance opportunities for mismatches on the offensive end, but the ease in which opposing guards are able to get to the basket is an issue.
– After giving up a season-high 42 points in the first half against UNC, Notre Dame allowed Wake to score 41 in the first half Tuesday.
– Austin Torres and Martin Geben played limited minutes Tuesday and that seems to be the trend going forward.
– Torres is still good for some energy minutes off the bench, but it seems as though Geben has regressed since the beginning of conference season. He has a huge frame that could be an asset for the Irish, but he does not know how to use it. He struggles in post defense and does not have the lateral quickness to put himself in position for rebounds.
– The small lineup was effective against Wake, but how it fares against Florida State Saturday will be another story entirely.
– I still believe Matt Ryan will have a breakout game at some point this season. He is too good of a shooter to be such a non-factor on the offense end. He is clearly a defensive liability even though he has size, but there will be a game where he gets hot from the outside.
– Just a reminder that The Otter Room will be hosting a tailgate for the Florida State game Saturday at Mulligans. The festivities will begin early afternoon and a home court advantage will be established.