After winning the Legends Classic in Brooklyn, NY, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish took on the Chicago State Cougars, beating them 91-60 and improving to 6-0 on the season.
The Cougars came out swinging at the beginning, leading the Irish 10-6, until a three pointer by sophomore forward Matt Ryan sparked the offence.
The Irish went on a 21-2 run that included five three pointers from the sophomore.
Ryan would hit his sixth three late in the first half and finish with with 23 points, shooting 50% from beyond the arc, grabbing three boards, and recording three assists.
The Irish went into the locker room with a comfortable 51-30 lead, and were looking to seal the deal early in the second half.
Notre Dame would quickly put the game away and were no match for the Cougars, shooting 51.5% from the field, and 45.9% from beyond the arc. The Fighting Irish would win my 31 points, with the final score being 91-60.
Matt Ryan’s 23 point performance Saturday night was a career high for the sophomore, who looks to carry this performance over to future games.
“He needed a game like that” stated head coach Mike Brey during his post game press conference.
Brey stated that over the last week, he’s been on Ryan about moving in a game speed fashion during shooting drills.
“He’s gotta move that way in practice so it carries over to the game”.
What the head coach loved about the game was that the rest of the team knew Ryan was on fire and looked to get him the ball.
“His teammates knew he was in a whole other level, and they really found him. I thought that was really intelligent of them”.
The rest of the starters played their part in the dominant win, with Steve Vasturia leading the starting five with 19 points, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 3 rebounds.
Bonzie Colson recorded his third straight double-double, scoring 10 points and grabbing 11 boards, while also recording 5 assists, and blocking one shot.
VJ Beachem recorded 15 points against the Cougars after a quiet night against Northwestern, where he only scored 11 points. Beachem shot 50% from the field, grabbed four rebounds and recorded two assists.
Matt Farrell had himself a quiet night after a monster performance in the Legend Classic championship game where he recorded 18 points, six assists and three rebounds.
During Saturday nights matchup, Farrell shot only 25% from the field, scoring six points, grabbing zero boards while recording 7 assists. Farrell was very involved with finding Ryan behind the arc.
Martinas Geben was very quiet as per usual with only playing 14 minutes, scoring three points, pulling down three boards, and blocking one shot.
Besides Matt Ryan, the Irish bench did not contribute much in terms of points with the highest being TJ Gibbs who scored eight points, grabbed four rebounds, recorded five assists and shot 75% from the field.
With wins over Northwestern and Colorado last week, the Irish certainly made a case for being in the top 25.
The Irish are back in action at home on Tuesday night for the ACC/BIG Ten Challenge, taking on the Iowa Hawkeyes. Tip off is set for 9 PM.
– R. Scarfone