Notre Dame, Ind (UHND.com) — Lead by a 23 point, 11 rebound effort from Torin Francis, Notre Dame beat Vanderbilt 79-69 in the first round of the NIT Wednesday night.
The Irish got 15 point performances from Colin Falls and Chris Quinn who missed another double-double by just one assist. Falls meanwhile connected on 4 of 8 three pointers to break the single season record for three pointers of 99 set by Matt Carroll in 2003.
The 20 point effort for Francis was the fourth 20 point outing the senior has posted this season and was two points shy of his career record. Francis’ double-double was his 8th on the season and his 11 rebounds marked the 16th time this season that he recorded double figures in rebounds.
Notre Dame used a strong start to the second half to take control of the game after Vandy lead for a god portion of the first half. The Irish however took a 38-35 lead heading into halftime and never looked back.
The Irish also got a boast from sophomore Rob Kurz who was 1 point and 1 rebound shy of his own double with 9 points and 9 boards. Russell Carter however, failed to score in double figures for the first time in 5 games but did finish with 8 points despite attempting just 3 field goals all game.
Notre Dame shot 55 percent from the floor Wednesday to compliment Francis and Kurz’s presence down-low, something the Irish have not had done too in a season where they lost close game after close game.
The win moves Notre Dame into the second round against the winner of the UTEP vs. Michigan game Thursday. Michigan is one of the four #1 seeded teams in the tournament this year as the NIT added seeding to their tournament for the first time. Maryland, Cincinnati, and Louisville.