Dec. 17, 2016
By Robby Hamman
INDIANAPOLIS -- Despite a career game from junior guard Matt Farrell and a double-double from junior forward Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame (9-2) was unable to hold off Purdue's (9-2) second half comeback on Saturday afternoon at the Crossroads Classic held at Bankers Life Arena, as the Irish fell by a final score of 86-81.
Colson led the Irish with 23 pionts on 11-of-21 shooting and added 10 rebounds to complete his double-double. Farrell was as impressive, pouring in 22 points and dishing out a career-high 10 assists. Senior forward V.J. Beachem also finished in double figures with 10 points on the day.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Irish put on an offensive clinic in the first half, scoring 52 points to build a 14-point lead at 52-38 heading into the halftime intermission. Notre Dame shot 20-for-33 from the field, including an impressive 7-for-12 from beyond the arc, and never trailed in the first frame. Three Irish players finished the first half in double figures scoring with Farrell leading the way with 12 points. Beachem and Martinas Geben put exclamation marks on the impressive first half performance with two emphatic dunks to close out the opening 20 minutes.
The Boilermakers got off to a hot start in the second half, outscoring the Irish 17-5 over the opening five minutes of the stanza to cut the Irish lead to two points at 57-55. Notre Dame managed to push its lead back to eight points at 65-57 but Purdue answered with a 10-0 run to take its first lead of the afternoon at 67-65 with 10:28 remaining in the game.
Purdue pushed its lead to six at 80-74 with just under six minutes left in the game. Notre Dame refused to go away, scoring the next five points to cut the deficit to one at 80-79 with 1:43 on the clock. Unfortunately for the Irish, that was as close as the team would get, as the Boilermakers were able to score six of the last eight points to secure the 86-81 win.
NOTRE DAME PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Colson and Farrell carried the Irish on Saturday, as each posted a double-double. Colson's 23 points marked his fourth 20-point performance of the season and sixth of his career. The forward has now recorded double-doubles in seven games this season, coming in his last eight outings.
Farrell posted the first double-double of his career, as the point guard finished with career highs in points (22), assists (10) and rebounds (5). Farrell shot 8-for-15 from the floor, including a 3-for-6 effort from the three point line. The Bridgewater, New Jersey, native also finished 3-for-3 from the free throw line, increasing his streak to 27 consecutive makes from the line to start the season.
NOTRE DAME STAT OF THE GAME
Farrell's 10 assist performance marks the first time a Notre Dame player has dished out double figure asssists in a game in over a year. The last time a Notre Dame player recorded 10-plus assists in a game was when Demetrius Jackson posted 10 against Sonty Brook on Dec. 8, 2015.
NOTES OF THE GAME
- Notre Dame is 3-3 at the Crossroads Classic over the past six years of the event.
- The Irish move to 22-21 against Purdue in the all-time series and is 10-5 against the Boliermakers when playing on a neutral court.
- The Irish turned the ball over 10 times, marking the ninth time this season the team has kept its turnover total 10 or fewer in a contest.
- With 81 points, Notre Dame has scored 80-plus points in 9-of-11 outings this season.
- The 52 points mark the second highest total the Irish have scored in the first half of a game this season and are the most Purdue has given up in any half during the 2016-17 campaign.
- The Irish have scored 40-plus points in the first half of 10 of its 11 games this season and have held the lead at the intermission in all 11 outings.
- Colson poured in 23 points and has now scored 10-plus points in all 11 games during his junior campaign.
- With 10 points, Beachem has now reached double figures in 10 of 11 games this season.
- Farrell led the team in assists with 10 and has now dished out six or more assists in eight games this season.
- Martinas Geben scored a season-high nine points on 3-of-4 shooting and added six rebounds.
The Irish return home for its final game before Christmas, as the team hosts Colgate at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 19 in Purcell Pavilion.
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.