Jan. 4, 2017
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- After an incredible individual performance to give the Irish an overtime victory in the ACC opener at Pitt on Saturday, Steve Vasturia hit another crucial shot on Wednesday against No. 9/9 Louisville (12-3, 0-2 ACC) to deliver Notre Dame (13-2, 2-0 ACC) a signature 77-70 victory. Clinging to a 71-68 lead, Vasturia drove the lane and hit an off-balance shot to put the Irish up five with 19 seconds left to give the hosts the win.
The win is Notre Dame's sixth consecutive victory over the Cardinals in Purcell Pavilion, with five coming over ranked Louisville teams. Vasturia led the Irish in scoring with a career-high 24 points, while junior guard Matt Farrell matched his career-high in scoring with 22 points. Junior forward Bonzie Colson was a beast underneath for the Irish, notching his ACC-best ninth double-double of the season with 18 points and 14 rebounds.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Irish got off to a great start against the Cardinals, opening up an early 10-point lead at 17-7 at the 12-minute mark of the first frame. The two teams traded baskets to move the score to 23-13 before Louisville went on a 13-2 run to take a 26-25 lead with seven minutes remaining in the half. Notre Dame responded by outscoring the visitors 17-11 to close the first frame and give the Irish a 42-37 lead heading into halftime.
Notre Dame came out of the break and pushed its lead to nine points at 51-42 in the first four minutes of the second off a three pointer from Farrell. The Cardinals chipped away at the Irish lead throughout the second stanza and managed to tie the contest at 68-68 with two minutes to play. Notre Dame immediately reclaimed the lead thanks to a make from the free throw line from Colson and outscored Louisville 9-2 down the stretch to knock off the nation's No. 9 team.
NOTRE DAME PLAYER OF THE GAME
Coming off a heroic overtime performance in the victory over Pittsburgh, senior guard Steve Vasturia continued his run of great play against Louisville. The Medford, New Jersey, native poured in a career-high 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting and added six rebounds, a block, a steal and an assist.
STAT OF THE GAME
The Irish were exceptional from the free-throw line, particularly in the second half. Notre Dame finished 22-for-25, including a 15-for-16 effort in the final 20 minutes to help the Irish get the victory. Farrell went an impressive 8-for-9 at line and Colson shot 8-for-10 from the stripe.
NOTES OF THE GAME
- The Irish improve to 15-20 against Louisville in the all-time series.
- Notre Dame is now 10-0 when playing in Purcell Pavilion this season.
- The Irish outrebounded Louisville 38-35 and improves to 9-0 when grabbing more boards than their opponent in 2016-17.
- Despite the tight game, Notre Dame led for 37:42 of the 40 minutes of game action.
- Farrell finished in double figures in points for the 11th time this season, and has scored 16-plus points in all seven matchups against power conference opponents.
- Colson produced his ninth double-double of the season, scoring 18 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. The junior leads the ACC in double-doubles this season.
- Colson has scored double-digit points in every game during his junior campaign (15 games).
- Vasturia finished with 22 points, scoring 10-plus for the 12th time this season.
- Austin Torres provided a big spark off the bench, scoring a season-high six points and two blocks.
The Irish are back in action on Saturday, Jan. 7, as they host Clemson at 3 p.m. in Purcell Pavilion. To purchase tickets visit UND.com/BuyTickets.
Robby Hamman joined Fighting Irish Media as athletics communications assistant director in September 2016, coordinating efforts for the volleyball and men's lacrosse program. Hamman is a 2010 graduate of Bethel College, where he earned bachelor's degrees in sport management and business administration, and earned his master's degree in business administration from Defiance College in 2013.