Nov. 12, 2016
By Robby Hamman
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Led by junior Bonzie Colson and senior V.J. Beachem, the Irish opened the 2016-17 season at home on Saturday with an 89-64 win over Bryant in Purcell Pavilion. Notre Dame is now 17-0 in season-openers during the Mike Brey era, all coming at home.
Colson led the Irish with 23 points and nearly recorded a double-double, as the forward finished with a team-high nine rebounds. Beachem also poured in 22 points, matching his career high in scoring. The senior added five rebounds, three blocks and a steal to complete his afternoon.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Irish jumped out to an early 13-4 lead to begin the game in just over six minute of play but Bryant answered by scoring 15 of the next 17 points to take a 19-15 lead with nine minutes to go in the first. Notre Dame immediately responded, as Beachem went on a 7-0 run of his own to put the Irish back on top at 22-19.
Over the final 7:30 of play in the first Notre Dame extended its lead to double figures, as the team went into halftime with a 12-point advantage at 43-31. Colson and Beachem carried the Irish offense in the opening 20 minutes, as the duo combined for 27 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the floor.
Notre Dame pulled away in the second half, as the team outscored the Bulldogs 20-6 in a span of just over six minutes midway through the frame to open up a 22-point lead at 75-53. The Irish went on to win by a final score of 89-64.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Colson had an ultra-efficient game from an offensive perspective, as the New Bedford, Massachusetts native finished with a team-high 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field. The junior was a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe as well. The 23-point performance marked the third game of his career with 20 or more points. Colson also added a team-high nine rebounds, twob blocks, an assist and a steal in the victory.
NOTRE DAME STAT OF THE GAME
The Irish shot the ball extremely well from the foul line against Bryant, finishing 26-of-29 on the afternoon. Beachem and Colson provided half of the makes, combining to go 13-for-13 from the line.
NOTES OF THE GAME
- Notre Dame moves to 17-0 in season-openers under head coach Mike Brey and is 94-18 in program history
- The Irish are now 3-0 against Bryant in the all-time series.
- Notre Dame is 47-35 when playing in-season tournament games, as Saturday's contest was a game in the Legends Classic.
- The 89 points are the most the Irish have scored in a season-opener since posting 98 against Georgia Southern in 2010.
- With 22 points, Beachem scored 20+ points for the second time in his career.
- Beachem's three blocks tie his career high.
- Saturday was the first time the Irish have had two players score at least 20 points in a game since Colson and former standout Demetrius Jackson accomplished the feat against Louisville on February 13, 2016.
- Senior Steve Vasturia started his 87th consecutive game on Saturday, while Martinas Geben recorded the first start of his career.
- Vasturia scored 16 points, marking his 51st game with double figures in points.
- Junior Matt Farrell notched career highs in assists (six) and steals (three).
- T.J. Gibbs, Elijah Burns and John Mooney all made their official Notre Dame debuts in the win.
Notre Dame is back in action in Purcell Pavilion for its second game in the Legends Classic, as the Irish host Seattle at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 16. 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.