Dec. 31, 2016
PITTSBURGH -- Trailing 77-75 in the final seconds of overtime, Notre Dame junior guard Matt Farrell drove the lane and managed to find an open Steve Vasturia in the corner, who buried a three with 2.5 seconds left to deliver the Irish (12-2, 1-0 ACC) a 78-77 victory over Pittsburgh (11-3, 0-1 ACC) in the ACC opener. Vasturia also knocked down a critical three earlier in the extra session to tie the game at 75-75 with just over a minute to play.
Vasturia was one of four Notre Dame players to finish with double figures in the scoring column, as the senior totaled 15 for the game. Junior forward Bonzie Colson led the Irish with 21 points and added 14 rebounds, while Farrell poured in 16 points and junior forward Martinas Geben produced a season-high 10 points.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Notre Dame had to weather a strong start from the Panthers, as the hosts connected on six of their first nine attempts from distance to build an early 22-11 lead. Trailing by 10 at 29-19 with just over six minutes to play in the first frame. The Irish responded with a 15-2 run to take a 34-31 lead with 2:51 left on the clock. Pittsburgh scored the final five points to lead 36-34 heading into the halftime break.
The two sides traded baskets for the first 10 minutes of the second half, as Pittsburgh held a three-point lead at 52-49. The Irish then ripped off 11 unanswered points over the next two minutes of play to take their largest lead of the afternoon at 60-52. However, the lead was short lived for the Irish, as Pittsburgh answered with a 15-2 run of its own to go ahead 67-62 with under three minutes to play.
Trailing 68-66 with 25 seconds left on the clock, Notre Dame's Steve Vasturia went to the line and knocked down two free throws to tie the game. With two seconds left in regulation, Pittsburgh had what looked to be an open corner three for the win but Beachem made a critical block to help send the game into overtime.
Vasturia opened the overtime scoring by knocking down a jumper to give the Irish a 70-68 lead early in the extra session. The Panthers then scored the next seven points before a Colson jumper cut the Pittsburgh lead to three at 75-72 to set up the thrilling finish.
NOTRE DAME PLAYER OF THE GAME I
Colson was a force for Notre Dame in multiple facets of the game, scoring a team-high 21 points and leading the team in rebounds with 14. The performance marks his eighth double-double of the season, which leads the ACC. The junior also added three assists, a block and a steal in the conference opener.
NOTRE DAME PLAYER OF THE GAME II
Vasturia took over the game in overtime after having a relatively quiet game over the first 40 minutes, scoring eight of Notre Dame's 10 points to guide the Irish to the victory. The senior went 3-for-6 in overtime and finished with 15 points, a team-high five assists, two rebounds and two steals.
STAT OF THE GAME
The Irish did much of their damage in overtime from beyond the arc but the team's work underneath is what got them to to overtime. Notre Dame dominated the Panthers down low, outscoring Pittsburgh 40-18 in the paint.
NOTES OF THE GAME
- The Irish improve to 32-30 against Pittsburgh in the all-time series.
- Notre Dame moves to 15-7 in conference openers in program history and have won 12 of its last 14.
- The Irish are now 22-10 in overtime games under head coach Mike Brey and have won six straight.
- Farrell finished in double figures in points for the 10th time this season, and has scored 16-plus points in all six matchups against power conference opponents.
- Colson has scored double-digit points in every game during his junior campaign (14 games), as he had 21 points in the victory. Saturday marks his fourth 20-plus point, 10-plus rebound performance of the season.
- Geben nearly produced the first double-double of his career, scoring a season-high 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting and grabbing nine rebounds in 28 minutes of action.
- Vasturia finished with 15 points, scoring 10-plus for the 11th time this season.
The Irish begin the 2017 portion of their schedule at home against No. 6/7 Louisville at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 4 inside Purcell Pavilion. 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.