Dec. 28, 2016
By Robby Hamman
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- No. 24/24 Notre Dame (11-2) wrapped up the non-conference portion of the 2016-17 campaign on Wednesday evening, defeating Saint Peter's (5-7) by a score of 63-55 to remain unbeaten in Purcell Pavilion this season.
Senior forward V.J. Beachem paced the Irish with 18 points. Fellow senior Steve Vasturia added 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting and junior Bonzie Colson chipped in 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds to propel the Irish to the victory. Notre Dame's defense was the story of the game, as the Irish held the Peacock's to a shooting percentage of .357 for the game.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Notre Dame opened up a double-digit lead just over eight minutes into the game, as sophomore guard Rex Pflueger connected on a jumper to put the Irish on top 19-9. Notre Dame's advantage never dipped below eight points for the remainder of the half and the team took a 10-point lead at 33-23 heading into the halftime break. Notre Dame finished shooting 13-for-23 (56.5 percent) from the floor in the opening 20 minutes of play.
The Irish scored the first eight points coming out of the break to increase their lead to 18 points at 41-23, their largest of the evening. The win was never in doubt, as Notre Dame controlled the rest of the game and went on to claim a 63-55 victory.
NOTRE DAME PLAYER OF THE GAME
For the second consecutive outing, and fifth time this season, Beachem led the Irish in scoring with 18 points. The Fort Wayne, Indiana, native finished 6-of-15 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free throw line. The senior also added five rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal to help Notre Dame.
STAT OF THE GAME
The Irish defense was stifling against Saint Peter's, holding the visitors to just 55 points. Wednesday's performance marks the fourth time this season that Notre Dame has held an opponent to 55 points or less in a game. The Peacocks finished with a field goal percentage of .357 from the field, going 20-for-56.
NOTES OF THE GAME
- The Irish improve to 5-0 against Saint Peter's in the all-time series.
- Notre Dame is now 9-0 this season when playing in Purcell Pavilion.
- The Irish are 16-1 under Mike Brey in games immediately following the Christmas break.
- With 18 points, Beachem has now reached double figures in 12 of 13 games this season.
- Colson has scored double-digit points in every game during his junior campaign (13), as he had 10 points in the victory.
- Vasturia finished with 11 points, scoring 10-plus for the 10th time this season.
- Rex Pflueger recorded his first turnover of the season with under a minute to play in the first half, ending a streak of 218 consecutive minutes without a turnover to start the season. The streak was the longest to start a season during the Brey era.
- Junior forward Martinas Geben matched his career high in blocks with two.
The Irish open ACC play on the road, as Notre Dame takes on Pittsburgh at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 31.
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.