After two straight losses to top 15 opponents, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish returned home Monday night to take on the Colgate Raiders, beating them 77-62 and improving to 8-2 on the season.
Regardless of their close losses, the Irish managed to stay in the AP Top 25, checking in at #25 and looked to secure a win heading into Christmas.
Being as it is the holiday season, who doesn’t love opening gifts early? As kids, we could not help but open an early gift because the idea of waiting until Christmas morning was just too much for us to handle.
The Notre Dame squad all received their early gifts with their victory over the Raiders but for point guard Matt Farrell, one present wasn’t enough. The up and coming star received the best gift anyone could ask for heading into the holiday season.
With Martinas Geben scoring the games first points, the Irish went on a 7-0 run to start the first half, looking to put this game away early in similar fashion to their early season opponents.
Notre Dame and Colgate however duked it out for majority of the first half until the Irish started to increase their lead as half time approached.
The Irish shot 46.7% from the field and 31.3% from three point range, going into the locker room up 36-20.
While second halves have been an area of weakness for the Irish, evident in their last two games, Notre Dame did not miss a beat as they did not let the Raiders stick around.
Notre Dame improved their shooting in the second half, shooting 53.8% from the field and finding their stroke from beyond the arc going 9-15.
The Irish led by as much as 20 points, thanks to a three pointer by guard Steve Vasturia, and eventually went on to win 77-62.
VJ Beachem led the Irish in scoring after a quiet game against Purdue in which he did not score in the second half. The Irish sharpshooter dropped 20 points, going 6-10 from three point range.
Martinas Geben scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds, while Steve Vasturia had another quiet night recording seven points but grabbing six rebounds and dishing out four assists.
Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell each scored 13 points, with Colson grabbing seven boards and recording three assists while Farrell grabbed three boards and dished out seven assists.
As the game wrapped up and everyone was about to leave, attention was asked to be drawn to the video screen.
Everyone looked up to watch Matt Farrell’s older brother Bo, a First Lieutenant with the Army, give a message to his younger brother. Bo had been stationed in Afghanistan for seven months and wished everyone a Merry Christmas and love to his brother Matt, before running out onto the court to surprise him.
It was the best gift anyone could ask for and while a win must of felt nice for Farrell and his Irish squad, reuniting with loved ones sure trumps that any day, especially during the holidays.
The Notre Dame staff had been planning this extravagant surprise for six weeks, with only Bo, head coach Mike Brey, and a few members in administration knowing. It was a surprise that Matt, his parents and even the entire Irish squad did not see coming.
Mike Brey chuckled in his post game press conference after being asked if Farrell was mad at him for keeping the secret for so long:
“Oh he’s definitely pissed at me” said the smiling head coach,“he turned to me and said ‘you knew!?’ I said ‘ya man i’m sorry’. Let him go home, i’ll deal with him Christmas night”.
This was the Irish’s last game until Christmas and are set to return to action on December 28th, where they will host the Saint Peter’s Peacocks at 7 PM EST. This will be the Irish’s last non-conference game before ACC play starts on New Years Eve.
– R. Scarfone