Fighting Irish rout Pilots, 88-59

Vs Bethal College
Bonzie Colson finished with 19 points in Notre Dame’s 88-59 win over Bethel College. (Source: NDInsider.com)

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish got their second victory in the preseason as they took care of Bethel College, 88-59, extending their all-time exhibition win streak to 36.

This result comes after the AP Poll announced their preseason Top 25, in which the Irish were slotted at number 14 in the nation.

It was a strong showing for the Irish, one that saw four players reach double figures and some big performances from some key players that will need to step up this season.

Starters Matt Farrell, Rex Pflueger, T.J. Gibbs, Bonzie Colson and Martinas Geben opened the game for the Irish against the Pilots, a five-man set that is assumed to be the first guys out on the floor opening night.

Shooting the ball well from the field in the first half of the game, the Irish shot 48.6%, (18-36) but struggled from the three point line all game, making only two of 20 shots. The Irish have been known for their three point shooting in the past and will need find their rhythm soon if they want to compete with more formidable opponents down the road.

Going into the break, Notre Dame led 44-28, and were ready to put the game away quickly in the second frame.

However, it wasn’t until midway through the second half that the Irish put the game out of reach, as they went on a 24-1 run.

Notre Dame were monsters in the paint, scoring 50 of their points down low and winning the turnover battle, forcing 19 turnovers on the Pilots while committing just eight themselves.

Defensively, Farrell and Pflueger had big performances, ones that all Irish fans will want to see carry over into the regular season. Both guards finished with four steals apiece.

Notre Dame went on to seal the deal 88-59.

Bonzie Colson did what Bonzie Colson does best, and that is record double-doubles. The preseason ACC Player of the Year recorded 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, with seven of those 11 boards being offensive rebounds.

Geben dropped some big numbers, similar to his performances in the summer playing for the Lithuanian national team. The senior big man recorded 13 points and came down with 10 rebounds.

Point guard Matt Farrell scored 10 points and dished out seven assists, while rising sophomore T.J. Gibbs, who looked leaner and faster, dropped 18 points of his own.

Freshman D.J. Harvey and forward Elijah Burns combined for 17 total points while reserve big man, John Mooney, contributed six points.

Before they begin their journey to the tourney next Saturday, the Fighting Irish will conclude their preseason slate against the NAIA Cardinal Stritch Wolves.

Tip off is set for 7 PM on Tuesday November 7th.

-R. Scarfone

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