SOUTH BEND, In. — The Notre Dame Fighting Irish took care of business Thursday night, demolishing the Chicago State Cougars, 105-66.
This was the fifth meeting between the Irish and the Cougars, with Notre Dame now leading 5-0 in the all time series. In each of the first four games, Notre Dame has beaten the Chicago State Cougars by at least 27 points.
Tonight was no different.
Notre Dame’s senior class, which includes Matt Farrell, Bonzie Colson, Austin Torres and Matt Gregory, are now just 13 wins away from becoming the most winning senior class in Notre Dame history.
Notre Dame got off to a quick start on Chicago State, scoring seven straight points as the Irish pounded the ball inside to Martinas Geben, who scored four of the seven.
After Fred Sims Jr. got the Cougars on the board, Notre Dame went on another run, scoring nine straight points, with Colson scoring all but two points during this offensive push.
The Cougars could not find an answer for the pre-season AP All-American, who could not miss from mid-range. Notre Dame was hot from the field the entire game, shooting 62.1% from the floor, as well as 45.5% from beyond the three point line.
Defensively, the Irish outmatched the Cougars, holding them to eight points through 13 minutes of play in the opening half.
Notre Dame went into half-time with a 56-29 lead behind T.J. Gibbs‘ 13 points, Farrell’s 12 points and Colson’s 11 points.
As the second half got under way, Chicago State made an effort to come back, cutting the lead down to 72-50 after a hoop and a harm by Deionte Simmons, who finished with 13 points and three rebounds.
But the hope of a come back was short lived, as Notre Dame’s stellar shooting performance continued.
Notre Dame out-rebounded Chicago State, 41-24, blocked eight shots and forced 15 turnovers on the Cougars, but coughed up 12 turnovers themselves as a result of sloppy play late in the second half.
The Fighting Irish improved to 3-0 on the season taking care of the Cougars by 39 points.
Chicago State’s starting five did not have a good night, as they were responsible for only 23 points, with Sims Jr. being responsible for 19 of those points.
The Cougar’s bench carried the team, with strong performances by Deionte Simmons (mentioned above) and Jelani Pruitt, who recorded 16 points and six rebounds.
For the Irish, T.J. Gibbs had another career night, dropping a career-high 23 points, dishing out three assists and recording one steal.
Matt Farrell started off the game cold but eventually found his stroke, dropping 18 points, grabbing five rebounds, dishing out four assists and recording five steals.
Bonzie Colson was one rebound short of recording yet another double-double, scoring 15 points, grabbing nine boards, and blocking five shots.
Martinas Geben recorded eight points and four rebounds while Rex Pflueger had seven points
In addition to T.J. Gibb’s career night, four other Irish players all surpassed their career bests, with freshman D.J. Harvey scoring 16, John Mooney scoring nine, Matt Gregory scoring three and Canadian Nikola Djogo recording two in addition to four assists.
Next stop: Maui!
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will be traveling to Maui for Monday, November 20th’s game against the Chaminade Silverswords, to tip off their Maui Invitational slate. Tip off is set for 9:00pm ET, broadcasting live on ESPNU.
– R. Scarfone