After seeing their season on the verge of collapse, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were able to get back on track last week with two big wins, thereby improving their ACC mark to 8-5 on the year and placing them with 1.5 games of the lead. While they’re currently in a tie for fifth place with Syracuse, the race has become so tight that they’re within a single game of second place and have gotten back into the Top 25 by snagging the final spot in those weekly rankings.
Home cooking agreed with the Irish as they won both contests at the Purcell Pavillion, first knocking off Wake Forest before then getting some revenge on Florida State. In the latter case, that toppled the Seminoles from their ACC lead, allowing North Carolina to move slightly ahead of them.
Notre Dame Basketball Week in Review
At home on February 7, Notre Dame got back into the win column against Wake with an 88-81 victory. The Irish trailed the Demon Deacons by as many as nine early in second half before using a 14-4 run to take the lead with 12:05 left in the game. While Wake was able to tie the game at 60, they could never regain the lead.
During the final 2:39 of the contest, the Irish managed to put the game away by scoring eight of the next 10 points, with three-point shooting and work at the foul line fueling that surge. Yet the Notre Dame defense also played an important role in the win by swatting away a season-high 12 shots during the contest.
In their crucial matchup against the Seminoles on Saturday, the Irish were in control for most of their 84-72 win. They took an 11-point lead during the first half and built that up to as many as 19 after the break before allowing Florida State to whittle the final margin down to 12 points.
Notre Dame excelled in keeping the Seminoles in check from long range, with their opponents only connecting on three of their 15 three-point attempts. Florida State was also affected by a severe self-inflicted wound that developed at the foul line, missing 15 of their 22 attempts on the night.
Standouts of the Week
Colson has thrived since Mike Brey changed to a four-guard lineup, combining for 60 points and 29 rebounds in the two victories. In the win over Wake, he also displayed his defensive ability by collecting a career-high five blocked shots. Against Florida State, his 33 points helped him break the 1,000-point threshold for his illustrious career.
A model of consistency during last week’s two wins, Vasturia tossed in 17 points, grabbed seven rebounds and also dished out three assists in the Demon Deacons victory. He followed that up with 15 points, seven boards and a pair of assists to go with his two steals.
Farrell also stayed on an even keel by scoring 16 points and handing out six assists against Wake, then following that up with 15 points and nine assists. In the latter game, his assist total marked a career-high in that category.
Notre Dame Basketball’s Week Ahead
The Irish again hit the road for two games, with contests at Boston College on Tuesday night and North Carolina State on Saturday. While both games come against teams with the worst records with the ACC, Notre Dame can’t afford to take any opponent lightly, considering their tenuous position in the conference.