Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Basketball

Irish Advance with 71-58 Win Over Hoos

March 9, 2017
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Notre Dame hadn’t beaten Virginia since joining the ACC in 2014, and it was weighing on the program. Bonzie Colson and VJ Beachem wouldn’t let the Cavaliers streak continue as they lead the Irish to a 71-58 win on Thursday night to advance to the semifinals of the ACC Tournament.

Colson recorded his 19th double-double of the season with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Beachem added 12 points and seven rebounds for his first career win against the Hoos.

Mike Brey's squad will take on Florida State at 9:00 p.m. ET on Friday evening. The winner will face either North Carolina or Duke in the ACC Tournament Championship game on March 11th.

Notre Dame, the top free throw shooting team in the NCAA, hit nine free throws over the final 2:41 to put the game on ice.

The Irish shot an incredible 52 percent against the pesky Virginia defense and scored 34 points in the paint.

However, it was the Notre Dame defense that came up huge limiting the Cavaliers leading scorer London Perrantes to just three points on 1-of-9 shooting from the field. Virginia’s second leading scorer, freshman guard Kyle Guy, was held 0-for8 from the field with zero points after scoring 20 points on Wednesday night against Pittsburgh.

If the first half start wasn’t good enough for Mike Brey and his squad, the first four minutes of the second half were just what Notre Dame needed. The Irish stormed out of the locker room with a quick 9-0 highlighted by a reverse dunk by Rex Pflueger and a VJ Beachem three-pointer to push a 32-26 halftime lead to 41-26.

Virginia hit its first field goal of the second half with 13:31 left in the game to pull within 47-34 on back-to-back buckets from Marial Shayock. That momentum lasted a few seconds as Matt Farrell completed a three-point play to put the Irish up by 15.

Farrell finished the game with 14 points and four assists.

Notre Dame continued its offensive success over the next three minutes with a Colson jumper, and layups from Steve Vasturia and Gibbs to extend the lead to 56-39 with just over seven minutes to play in the game.

Vasturia finished the game with 12 points, five rebounds, and five assists.

Virginia hit the first bucket of the night, but Notre Dame quickly answered with a Pflueger three-pointer, which jumpstarted the Irish offense. Two Colson jumpers and a Beachem reverse layup later, Notre Dame was on a 10-0 run to take an early eight-point advantage.

Over the first eight minutes of the game, Notre Dame did many things right as they were shooting 75 percent from the field, and held a rebounding advantage of +5.

The Hoos, as you’d expect, kept things close with three treys over four minutes to pull with 21-15 when Devon Hall knocked in a three. Farrell answered a Notre Dame scoring drought with a three of his own to push the lead back to eight with 5:23 left in the first half.

When you play Virginia, it’s going to be ugly, and most of all frustrating. That’s exactly how the first half after the initial ten minutes of play. At one point, Notre Dame shot 2 of 9, while the Cavaliers were 2 of 8.

Hall knocked in his second three-pointer of the game with 2:02 to play in the first half to bring the Hoos within four points. Colson answered with a layup as Farrell got his third assist of the night to put Notre Dame up 30-24.

Notre Dame continued doing the little things right through the first half. The Irish shot 52 percent from the field and won the battle on the boards 17-12.

Colson led the Irish with 11 points, and four rebounds at the break as Notre Dame led 32-26.

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