March 11, 2017
By Robby Hamman
BROOKLYN - Notre Dame (25-9) came up just short in the ACC Tournament Championship, falling to Duke (27-8) by a final of 75-69 Saturday evening in the Barclays Center. Junior forward Bonzie Colson turned in a monster performance in the defeat, scoring a game-high 29 points on 12-of-21 shooting while adding nine rebounds.
Senior forward V.J. Beachem scored 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting. The other Irish player to finish in double figures was junior guard Matt Farrell, as he posted 13 points and added seven assists in the game.
How It Happened
The Blue Devils led by as many as nine points over halfway through the first half, holding a 27-18 advantage with less than eight minutes remaining in the frame. Notre Dame fought back and was able to cut the Duke lead to two points at 36-34 with six seconds remaining on the clock, as Colson finished an and-one opportunity. The Blue Devils then raced up the floor and converted a layup as the halftime horn sounded to take a 38-34 lead into the intermission.
The Irish started the second half strong, scoring seven of the first nine points to take their first lead of the game at 41-40 off a make from distance from Rex Pflueger. Notre Dame continued to play well, increasing its lead to eight points off a dunk from Beachem to make the score 56-48 with under 12 minutes left in regulation. The Blue Devils answered with a run of their own, outscoring the Irish 14-4 over the next seven minutes to take a 63-60 advantage.
The Irish kept battling, as Colson drained a three-pointer to tie the game back up at 65-65 with 2:27 left on the clock. Unfortunately for Notre Dame, Duke made just enough plays down the stretch, as it outscored the Irish 10-4 in the final minutes to pull out the 75-69 win.
Notre Dame Player Of The Game
Colson put on an incredible offensive display, showing fans why he is one of the best players in the nation. The junior scored a game-high 29 points while pulling down a team-best nine rebounds. The forward finished 12-of-21 from the floor and 2-for-3 from beyond the arc.
Notre Dame Stat Of The Game
For the second straight game the Irish did well in limiting turnovers, as Notre Dame recorded just six in the game. Conversely the Irish totaled seven steals and pressured the Blue Devils into 12 turnovers.
Notre Dame Notes
- The Irish are now 1-1 in ACC Tournament Championship games.
- With a made three-point shot in the first half, Farrell extended his streak of consecutive games with a make from distance to 24 games. The streak is the second best streak of any ACC player this season.
- Colson now has 13 games with 20-plus points this season.
- Farrell surpassed the 10-point mark for the 29th time this season with 13 points.
- Beachem finished in double figures for the 26th time this year after scoring 15 points.
The Irish will find out where and who they play in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, March 12. The NCAA Tournament Selection Show will air on CBS at 5:30 p.m ET.
Robby Hamman joined Fighting Irish Media as athletics communications assistant director in September 2016, coordinating efforts for the volleyball and men's lacrosse program.