Notre Dame passed its first major test of the season with flying colors as the Irish dominated LSU in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational to the tune of a 92-53 victory.
Like in Monday’s victory vs. Chaminade, Matt Farrell set the tone early for the Irish. The senior point guard was able to penetrate the Tiger defense and was deadly from beyond the arc. Farrell scored 17 points and had seven assists in the winning effort.
Farrell set the tone, but it was T.J. Gibbs that delivered. After he had just seven points vs. Chaminade Monday, the sophomore recorded a career-high 26 points and tallied three rebounds and four assists. Gibbs had open looks all night thanks to Farrell’s penetration and ND’s ability to make the extra pass.
Bonzie Colson finished with a double-double as the senior put up 12 points and gathered 10 rebounds. Colson also forced a career-high five steals.
The Irish will take on No. 6 Wichita State Wednesday night in the Maui Invitational Championship Game after the Shockers took care of Marquette in the early semifinal.
– LSU advanced to the semifinals after a dramatic victory over Michigan Monday night.
– Although LSU was a more athletic team than the Wolverines, the Irish preferred to face the Tigers. UM coach John Beilein has a long history of playing Mike Brey teams and knows the tendencies.
– LSU coach Will Wade, while one of the best young coaches in the country, was thoroughly out-coached by Brey and the Tiger defense looked confused through most of the game.
– After allowing four offensive rebounds on the first possession of the game, the Irish clamped down defensively. ND held the Tigers to 36% from the field and 6-23 from three-point range. The Irish also forced LSU into 17 turnovers and never allowed the Tigers to find an offensive rhythm.
– Martin Geben was another recipient of Farrell’s impeccable court vision. The senior finished with 10 points on 4-4 shooting. That high shooting percentage was due to pick-and-roll motion he ran with Farrell and LSU had no answers.
– One play that will be the one of the highlights of the season is Farrell finding Geben for a dunk by bounce-passing the ball through an LSU defender’s legs.
– John Mooney continues to impress in Hawaii. The sophomore put together another solid game vs. LSU as he finished with nine points and six rebounds.
– Colson’s double-double was his third of the season and 26th of his career.
– Notre Dame’s 15 three-pointers were a season-high.
– Notre Dame will face Wichita State in the Maui Invitational Finals Wednesday night. The Shockers have been as impressive as any team in the country and their pressing style will test the Irish.
– The last time we saw ND face a pressing team, they were physically overwhelmed by West Virginia in last year’s NCAA Tournament. Wednesday will be a strong litmus test to see how far the Irish have come since March.
– Below is the highlights from Notre Dame’s last matchup with the Shockers in the 2015 Sweet 16 to get the good vibes going.