SOUTH BEND, In. — The Notre Dame Fighting are now 2-0 to start the season after an 88-62 home opening win over the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers.
This was the third meeting between these two teams, with the Irish beating the Mountaineers in the previous two contests back in 2004 and 2014.
Mike Brey and his Notre Dame teams are now 18-0 in home openers and will only need 10 more wins to break the Notre Dame basketball coach all-time wins record of 394.
The countdown is on.
Bonzie Colson opened up the game’s scoring, hitting a jumper with Mount St. Mary’s quick to respond, and they matched the pace of the Irish early on.
The two teams were neck-and-neck for the majority of the first half, with the game being tied four times before Greg Alexander hit a three for the Mountaineers to put them up by one with seven minutes left in the half.
After two made free throws by forward Ryan Gomes to put the Mountaineers up 23-20, the Fighting Irish went on an 11-0 run to pull ahead, 31-23. Notre Dame shot 41.9% from the field in the first half, but struggled again from three point range, going 2-for-10.
Colson made the final shot of the half, putting the Irish up 40-32 entering the break, and contributing to his 27 total points that he finished the night with. The pre-season AP All-American also grabbed 11 rebounds, and added three blocks and three steals.
As the second half got under way, Notre Dame came out hot, going on a 14-0 run, holding the Mountaineers scoreless for four minutes.
Australian guard, Jonah Antonio, tried to keep the Mountaineers in the game, hitting back-to-back threes. He finished the night with nine points, but the Mountaineers were clearly outmatched.
Notre Dame performed great defensively, forcing 13 turnovers on the Mountaineers, while limiting their own to six and out rebounded them 39-29.
The Fighting Irish went on to seal the deal, 88-62, improving to 2-0 on the season.
Bonzie Colson wasn’t the only Irish player to record a double-double; Rex Pflueger recorded his first career double-double, scoring 13 points, grabbing 10 rebounds while also dishing out five assists.
Matt Farrell overcame a slow start to record 13 points and five assists, while T.J. Gibbs and Martinas Geben both scoring nine points each.
Geben is slowly contributing the numbers that the Fighting Irish need him to record in order to compliment Colson up front. While the Lithuanian will not produce numbers like Colson, he is becoming more of an offensive and defensive factor that teams will need to account for. Geben averages five points, seven rebounds and two blocks per game through two.
Notre Dame also saw more offensive production from Elijah Burns, as the junior forward contributed seven points and grabbed four rebounds.
The Fighting Irish will be back in action on Thursday when they host the Chicago State Cougars at 7:00 PM EST.
In Irish recruiting news, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish added another member to their class of 2018 after inking the first four last week.
Chris Doherty committed to the Irish during their game against Mount St. Mary’s, and compliments an already strong top 10 recruiting class.
A three star forward from Marlborough, MA, Doherty stands at 6″7 and weighs 225 pounds.
At a first glance, Doherty plays very big, and loves to pound the ball inside. He is very good at posting up his opponents, as well as finishing at the rim despite contact. Irish fans should keep their eye out for this kid.
– R. Scarfone