The Notre Dame Fighting Irish continue to make their case for being included in the Top 25 as they took care of the Iowa Hawkeyes in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. 92-78, improving to 7-0 on the season.
“God I love my team!” said Irish Head Coach Mike Brey in his post game press conference, who is now 8-1 against Big Ten opponents in three seasons.
The Irish are off to a hot start, dominating out of conference mid majors with ease, while defeating notable programs in Colorado, Northwestern, and now Iowa.
Notre Dame hosted the Hawkeyes at home Tuesday night which went back and forth to start, until the Irish lead by 14 with under five minutes left in the first half.
With the score at 41-26 and three and a half minutes left in the half, Iowa would go on a 13-0 run, reducing the Irish lead to two points.
The score remained close throughout the start of the second half with Iowa leading the Irish by a basket before Matt Farrell would hit a three pointer to put Notre Dame up one and spark the offence that went on a 10-0 run.
The Irish would lead comfortably for the rest of the game, eventually winning the contest by 14.
It was a monster night for Bonzie Colson, who recorded his fourth straight double-double, dropping 24 points and grabbing a career high 17 rebounds. His 24 point performance tonight marks the third game this year that the junior has scored 20 or more points.
Along with Colson, the rest of the starting five continued to provide majority of the offensive production, while the bench contributed when necessary.
Point guard Matt Farrell scored 16 points, matching his career high seven assists, while VJ Beachem shot 50% from the field and 3-point range, scoring 16 points and grabbing five rebounds.
Steve Vasturia was one off from his first double-double of the season scoring 22 points and grabbing nine boards.
While Martinas Geben did only play 11 minutes and scored two points, Coach Brey described the junior’s performance as a big night for him as he grabbed nine boards for the Irish.
“You can say that Brooklyn was the Matty Farrell coming out, tonight I think it was for Martin…he was physically defending that big guy, rebounding for us, something for him to grow on”.
The Irish had an outstanding night from the free throw line and demonstrated why they are ranked #4 in free throw percentage nationally.
Vasturia, Farrell, Colson, Beachem and Matt Ryan combined to go 28-28 from the charity stripe, with Bonzie going 12-12 himself. The Irish overall went 30-33 from the line shooting 90.9%. Coach Brey raved about the Irish’s ability to capitalize at the free throw line.
“Obviously the foul line is an unbelievable weapon for us. I just think we are the best in the country from there. We get there and then capitalize when we get there”.
The Irish played with toughness on the defensive side of the ball, out rebounding the Hawkeyes, 45-32, keeping them to 38% shooting from the field, and blocking 6 shots.
The Irish will get a rest after a big win, hosting North Carolina A & T on Sunday at home. Tip off is set for 5:00 PM.
– R. Scarfone