A thin schedule leading up to Christmas had the Notre Dame Fighting Irish only taking the court once last week. That home game on December 19 was a contest against the 2-9 Colgate Raiders, which ended with the not surprising score of 77-62 to elevate the Notre Dame mark to 10-2.
Notre Dame Basketball Week in Review
The victory also stopped a two-game losing skid that came against a pair of Top 25 opponents. The Colgate win started out with the Irish running off the first seven points of the game, only to see the Raiders with seven unanswered points of their own. Another tie at nine apiece with 14:28 left in the first half would serve as the turning point of the game.
From that point, Notre Dame went on a 27-11 run for the rest of the half. That defensive performance was explained by the fact that the Irish held Colgate to just 21 percent shooting from the field and 18 percent from long range.
However, the 36-20 halftime lead was the lowest halftime scoring output for Notre Dame this year. It also had an easy explanation: sloppy play, which was most evident in 10 of the team’s 14 turnovers that took place in the opening 20 minutes. The game turnover total also marked a dubious high for a category where the Irish entered the game as the nation’s leader for fewest average errors per game.
Consistency was much more in evidence during the second half, with the Irish never allowing the lead to get below 13 points. The win also kept Notre Dame in the Top 25, helping them move up one spot to No. 24.
Notre Dame Basketball Standouts of the Week
The senior forward used his skills from long range to score a game-high 20 points. With six three-pointers, Beacham topped his previous best in that category, which came in the November 29 win over Iowa when he drilled four on the night. While he also had three steals and a pair of assists, he also closed out the Colgate win with four turnovers.
Colson only played for 25 minutes, but still managed to score 13 points, corral seven boards and dish out three assists. He’s been a perennial on this list since the season began, with his three-for-four night at the foul line representing the best of a quiet night for the Irish at the charity stripe.
Ordinarily, his 13 points and seven assists would be noteworthy on their own. However, a poignant scene after the game ended is what people will remember. Farrell and the team watched as his brother, a U.S. Army soldier serving in Afghanistan, wished Notre Dame well of the replay board. Farrell was emotional during the comments, then was shocked when his brother made a surprise appearance onto the court.
A Turnover Blip
The 14 turnovers were likely related reduced concentration toward a weaker opponent after two big games and the close loss to Purdue two days earlier. The Irish will be able to fine tune such issues before conference play gets going.
Notre Dame’s Week Ahead
The final non-conference matchup before ACC action begins takes place on December 28, when the 5-6 St. Peter’s Peacocks come to town in what’s expected to be an easy victory. On New Year’s Eve, the Irish travel to face the Pitt Panthers. They’re also 10-2, not to mention 7-1 on their home court this season.