After a sluggish opening ten minutes that saw the Irish fall behind by as many as seven to Boston College, No. 19 Notre Dame finally found their rhythm on both ends of the floor and cruised to an 82-66 win.
The win accompanied by Louisville’s loss to Wake Forest allowed the Irish to clinch their third straight ACC double-bye and can solidify the No. 2 seed with a win vs. the Cardinals on Saturday.
Like in the first matchup, Boston College came out hitting shots. The Irish were a step slow defensively and the Eagles made them pay.
Once Notre Dame incorporated some zone on defense, the Irish were able to create turnovers and fast-break opportunities. A 17-2 run allowed ND to seize control of the game and never look back.
V.J. Beachem led Notre Dame with 22 points in his final game at Purcell Pavilion, while Bonzie Colson recorded his 18th double-double in the winning effort.
– Beachem was outstanding throughout the game. His shot was falling and he could drive to the rim at will. He is catching fire just like he did at this time a season ago.
– Maybe is was avoiding fatigue or maybe it was getting more guys playing time in the final home game, but Mike Brey used his bench extensively Wednesday night. Martin Geben and Matt Ryan played significant minutes and they produced, especially defensively.
– Geben had not seen action in the previous two games, but the Irish will need him at some point if they are to make a run. His size and passing ability is an asset in the post and ND needs to be ready if Colson falls into foul trouble at some point.
– Unfortunately, Steve Vasturia did not have a stellar performance in his last home game. The senior finished with 10 points and five rebounds. The senior captain was again stellar on the defensive end.
– T.J. Gibbs did not have a great stat night as the freshman finished with just four points on 2-8 shooting. However, Gibbs ran the offense efficiently when Matt Farrell was saddled with two fouls in the first half. Gibbs recorded four assists, two timely steals, and his quick hands in the zone deflected numerous passes.
– Colson’s totals were 18 points and 11 rebounds, which assuredly lands him on the first team all-conference team. The junior remains in the conversation for ACC Player of the Year, but he has strong competition and a Tobaaco Road bias working against him.
– Senior Pat Mazza scored two points on a dunk in the final seconds of his final home game. The big man finished off a stellar Notre Dame career which included residency in the Quint, two years on the football team, and a year on the basketball squad.
– At the time of this posting, the senior postgame speeches are not available, but below are their highlights from the game. Brey and the entire team saluted the fan base after the game and each senior spoke to the crowd.
Stay tuned to The Otter Room for a complete preview of Saturday’s Louisville game…still in Pitino’s head.