Saturday was a big day for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish as they won their 10th ACC game of the season, defeating the NC State Wolfpack 81-72.
In addition to their 10th ACC win, Notre Dame will finish the season with a winning league road record, something Mike Brey is very proud of.
“10 league wins in this league this year, is something to be really proud of”.
NC State is a well coached team; a team that Mike Brey knew the Irish couldn’t take lightly.
“I talked to them [players] very openly and said ‘you know fellas I think we’ll get their Duke effort tonight’”. He later went on to say to the media, “don’t be surprised if you know they do somethings interesting here in the regular season, especially in Brooklyn”.
Brooklyn will be the location of the upcoming ACC tournament as Notre Dame will try to win the league title since taking it in 2015.
Two very good teams went head to head with the Irish possessing a more experienced team, playing only one freshman compared to NC State’s six or seven as Mike Brey noted after the game.
After the Wolfpack opened up the scoring, Notre Dame went on a 7-0 run to jump ahead thanks to a tip in and three pointer by VJ Beachem and a layup by Bonzie Colson.
Temple Gibbs made his presence known in the first half, knocking down an early three pointer to put the Irish up seven, followed by a finger role off the glass, and concluding with a steal and a bucket. Gibbs finished the game with seven points, going scoreless in the second half, but dished out three assists and recorded two steals.
The Irish shot 59.3% from the field, 50% from 3-pt range and went three for four from the charity stripe, going into half time with a 41-28 lead.
Notre Dame’s stellar shooting performance carried over into the second half, where VJ Beachem hit four three pointers, for a total of seven in the game; a career high. VJ scored 21 of his 27 total points from beyond the arc, shooting 7-12 from the three point line and 6-10 from the field.
NC State managed to make a comeback in the second, going on an 8-0 run with eight minutes left in the game, bringing them within 10.
The Wolfpack brought it within seven with 46 seconds left but the Irish’s stellar free throw shooting coupled with their defensive intensity allowed them to seal the deal, winning 81-72.
Notre Dame finished the game shooting 50% from the field and 43.3% from the three point line as well as shooting 83.3% from the free throw line.
Steve Vasturia and Matt Farrell both recorded 11 points, with Farrell dishing out eight assists while Vasturia grabbed five boards.
Bonzie Colson had a quieter game than his usual 20 plus games, but none the less, the rising star recorded 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds, shooting six for 10.
Matt Ryan and Austin Torres both saw action in Saturday’s game, with Ryan shooting 50% from beyond the arc, scoring six points, while Torres recorded four.
Notre Dame will not return to action for another week, hosting Georgia Tech for round two of their two game series on February 26th. Tip off is set for 6:30 PM EST, broadcasting live on ESPNU.
The Fighting Irish lost their first game against Georgia Tech by only two points and will seek to even out the series with the regular season coming to a close soon.
– R. Scarfone