Feb. 7, 2017
By: Robby Hamman
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Bonzie Colson did everything for the Irish on Tuesday night, as Notre Dame (18-7, 7-5 ACC) recorded an 88-81 win over Wake Forest (14-10, 5-7 ACC) inside Purcell Pavilion. Colson finished with a season-high 27 points to go along with a team-best 16 rebounds and five blocks.
The Irish had four players finish with 15 or more points, as senior forward V.J. Beachem scored 19 points, senior guard Steve Vasturia poured in 17 and junior guard Matt Farrell added 16 points in the victory.
How It Happened
Notre Dame jumped out to an early five point lead against Wake Forest, taking a 14-9 advantage over the first eight minutes of play. The Demon Deacons fought back and scored 12 of the next 14 points to go up by five with the score 21-16. The Irish cut the deficit to two points as the half neared its end but a Wake Forest three right before the buzzer gave the visitors a 41-36 lead at the intermission.
The Demon Deacons pushed their lead to eight points at the 15-minute mark of the second half and then Notre Dame outscored Wake Forest 16-4 over the next four minutes to go on top 58-54. Colson was the catalyst in the run, scoring eight of the 16 points, including two makes from beyond the arc.
Wake Forest managed to come back and tie the game at 60-60 but a three-point make from Beachem put the Irish back in the lead for good, as Notre Dame did not trail for the final eight minutes of the evening. The lead grew to as many as nine points and the Irish went on to win by a final score of 88-81.
Notre Dame Player Of The Game
Colson produced another monster performance for the Irish, notching a season-high 27 points and 16 rebounds, which is one short of his career high. The New Bedford, Massachusetts, native was a menace to the Wake Forest offense underneath, blocking a career-high five shots. The junior now has five games of 20-plus points and 10-plus rebounds this season. The performance marked his ACC-best 15th double-double of the season and 19th of his career.
Stat Of The Game (I)
The Irish recorded a season-high 12 blocks on Tuesday evening, the most Notre Dame has produced in an ACC game in program history. Three players produced career highs in the statistical category, as Colson had five, Beachem totaled four and sophomore guard Rex Pflueger tallied three.
Stat Of The Game (II)
Notre Dame's second half performance from distance carried the team to the win, as the Irish knocked down 9-of-14 from beyond the arc. Four players managed to connect on two or more threes, as Beachem led the way with three in the final 20 minutes.
Notre Dame Notes
- The Irish had four players finish with 15 or more points for the third time this season. The other two outings came against Iowa (11/29) and Colorado (11/21).
- Notre Dame blocked eight shots in the first half against Wake Forest, the most the program has ever recorded in the opening 20 minutes of an ACC game.
- The Irish improve to 4-3 against Wake Forest in the all-time series and have now won four straight matchups.
- Notre Dame shot 17-of-21 from the free-throw line for a percentage of .810. The Irish have finished at or above 80 percent 13 times this season.
- Tuesday marked Colson's seventh 20-point performance of the season and ninth of his career.
- Beachem finished one point shy of his fourth straight 20-point game with 19, marking his 20th game with double digits.
- Vasturia's 17 points mark his 19th game of the 2016-17 campaign in double figures.
- Farrell surpassed the 10-point mark for the 21st time this season with 16 points.
- T.J. Gibbs went a perfect 5-for-5 from the free-throw line and has now made 14 consecutive free throws.
The Irish are back in action in Purcell Pavilion at 6 p.m. on Saturday, February 11, as Notre Dame hosts No. 14/16 Florida State. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.
Robby Hamman joined Fighting Irish Media as athletics communications assistant director in September 2016, coordinating efforts for the volleyball and men's lacrosse program.