Nov. 21, 2016
By Robby Hamman
BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- The Barclays Center has become a second home for the Irish in the past year, as Notre Dame (4-0) won its semifinal game of the Legends Classic over Colorado (3-1) in Brooklyn, New York on Monday by a score of 89-81. The Irish have now won three straight games at the Barclays Center, including the first two rounds of the 2016 NCAA Tournament on their run to the Elite Eight.
The Irish had four players finish with 17-plus points in the victory, as the combination of Matt Farrell, Bonzie Colson, V.J. Beachem and Steve Vasturia scored 74 points. Farrell and Colson each poured in 20 points, while Beachem and Vasturia added 17 to propel Notre Dame to the eight-point win.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Irish could not have asked for a better start against the Buffaloes, as they knocked down six of their first seven shot attempts to get a quick 11-point lead at 17-6 just over four minutes into the game. Colorado managed to cut the Notre Dame lead to five at 19-14 before the Irish reeled off a 9-0 run to take control of the game at 28-14 with 10 minutes to play in the first. Notre Dame's lead never dipped below 11 for the rest of the half, as the Irish took a 50-35 lead into the halftime break.
The two teams traded baskets for the first 10 minutes of the second stanza before back-to-back three-pointers from Colorado trimmed the Irish lead to nine at 66-57. Notre Dame responded with a driving layup from Farrell followed by an and-one highlight-reel dunk from Beachem over a Colorado defender to push the Irish advantage back to 14 at 71-57 with just over eight minutes to play.
The Buffaloes refused to go away, as Colorado made a comeback down the stretch to cut the Irish lead to four points in the final minutes. However, Notre Dame was flawless at the free-throw line, connecting on each of its last 13 attempts to complete the win.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT
Beachem drove baseline and posterized a Buffalo defender in the second half, while drawing a foul to increase the Irish lead to 14 points.
-- The Fighting Irish (@FightingIrish) November 22, 2016
PLAYER OF THE GAME NOMINATION NO. 1
Colson posted his first double-double of the season and fifth of his career with 22 points and 13 rebounds. The forward did a large portion of his scoring from the charity stripe, hitting 9-of-9 free throws. Colson has now finished with 20-plus points in two of the four games and has scored at least 16 points in every outing.
PLAYER OF THE GAME NOMINATION NO. 2
Farrell had the best game of his three years with the Irish on Monday, scoring a career-high 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the floor and a 4-for-4 effort from the free-throw line. The junior also led the team in assists, matching his career high with six.
PLAYER OF THE GAME NOMINATION NO. 3
Beachem scored 17 points and added a season-high eight rebounds, finishing just one shy of matching his career-high of nine. The senior has now scored 16 or more points in all four outings during the 2016 campaign.
NOTRE DAME STAT OF THE GAME
The Irish were exceptional from the free-throw line, finishing 27-of-29 to preserve the win. Notre Dame connected on its last 13 attempts from the charity stripe. Colson led the way, going 9-for-9 and Beachem and Vasturia each went a perfect 5-for-5 from the line.
NOTES OF THE GAME
- The Irish are now 4-1 when playing in the Barclays Center and have won three straight.
- Notre Dame is 49-35 when playing in-season tournament games, as Monday's contest was Notre Dame's third game in the Legends Classic.
- With 89 points Notre Dame has eclipsed the 80-point mark in all four outings in the 2016-17 season.
- The Irish have scored 50-plus points in the first half of two of its four games this season.
- Notre Dame has not recorded a double-digit turnover game through four games this season, as it finished with just seven on Monday.
- The Irish outrebounded Colorado 42-35.
- Notre Dame had two 20-point scorers for the second time this season, as Farrell and Colson each finished with 20-plus points.
- Vasturia's 17 points mark a season high.
The Irish play the winner of Texas and Northwestern on Tuesday, Nov. 22 in the Legends Classic Championship at the Barclays Center. Tip is scheduled for 6 p.m. and the game will air on ESPN2
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.