Notre Dame ended their four game losing streak on Tuesday night with a much needed home win over Wake Forest. Despite trailing at half-time, Notre Dame rallied in the second half to take down the Demon Deacons 88-81. The win was Notre Dame’s first since January 15th and couldn’t have come at a better time after the Irish fell out of the Top 25 yesterday.
Bonzie Colson led the way for Notre Dame Tuesday night. Despite giving up five inches to Wake Forest big man Josh Collins, Colson had one of his best games of the season racking up 27 points and 16 rebounds. He added a career high five blocks. All while playing against an opponent five inches taller most of the night. Colson’s 15th double-double on the season was needed as the Irish found themselves down 36-41 at the half.
Colson sparked a second half comeback though after the Irish trailed by as many as 9 points before outscoring the Deacons 52-40 in the second half to halt their losing streak.
VJ Beachem chipped in 19 points, Steve Vasturia 17, and Matt Farrell 16 as the Irish had all four of the scorers on their game Tuesday night. Beachem knocked down five three pointers as the Irish hit 13 as a team while connecting on 48.1% of their attempts from long distance.
The Irish were active on the defensive end Tuesday night as well. In addition to Colson’s five blocks, Beachem had four of his own and Rex Pflueger had three to give Notre Dame 12 on the night.
Tuesday’s win was a familiar formula for the Irish. Good three pointing shooting and ball security. Notre Dame turned the ball over just 7 times compared to 17 assists.
Another old Mike Brey staple was on display Tuesday night as well. Faced with the threat of a five game losing streak and losing hold of what looked like a potential promising season just a couple weeks ago, Mike Brey shortened his bench and relied heavily on his starting five. Colson, Vastura, Bechem, and Farrell all tallied at least 35 minutes on on the court. The only reserve to see more than four minutes of game action of Temple Gibbs who played 22 minutes.
Notre Dame improved to 18-7 on the season with the win and faced a lighter schedule over the next few weeks after Saturday’s showdown at home vs. #14 Florida State. The Irish host the Seminoles Saturday night looking to avenge an earlier season loss. After that, Notre Dame will have four straight games against unranked opponents before closing the season on the at #4 Louisville. Notre Dame beat the Cardinals earlier this season.
Game time for Saturday night is 6:00 and the game will be broadcast on ESPN. A win could set up the Irish nicely for the final push before the tournament but they will need the home crowd to be at its best to pull off the upset.