As if it wasn’t hard enough for Notre Dame to play last night without star center Bonzie Colson, things got even harder for the Irish when they lost Matt Farrell to an ankle injury in the first against NC State. It didn’t matter. Notre Dame won 88-58 over the Wolf Pack at Purcell Pavillion to give Mike Brey win #394 with Notre Dame breaking Digger Phelps program record in the process.
Without Colson and then Farrell, Notre Dame needed someone to step up last night. Four players rose to the occasion. Freshman DJ Harvey got the start with Colson out and responded with a career high 17 points. TJ Gibbs chipped in a game high 22 and Rex Pflueger scored 16. Martinas Geben posted a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Prior to suffering his ankle injury, Matt Farrell was off to a torrid start. In 15 minutes of action he already had 9 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals with all 9 coming on three pointers.
In their first game since we learned that Bonzie Colson broke his foot and would be out for 8 weeks, Notre Dame played as well as anyone could have hoped – especially considering they lost Farrell. Speaking of Farrell, Mike Brey said after the game that Farrell is doubtful to play this weekend at the Carrier Dome against Syracuse. Notre Dame has had their struggled against the Orange on their home court making Saturday a daunting task.
Down two stars, the Irish bend was much more active than it normally is as well with four different reserves playing more than 10 minutes. Senior Austin Torres specifically played well of the bench with 5 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals. Torres figures to get even more playing time on Saturday against the Orange given Farrell’s status and TJ Gibbs ability to play the point in Farrell’s absence.
Getting DJ Harvey going last night was a huge plus for the Irish and will ne a necessity for Notre Dame to weather the Colson-less stretch of ACC games and still make the NCAA Tournament. The freshman had been struggling the last few weeks and played just five minutes against Georgia Tech last weekend before logging a career high 30 last night. With Harvey in the lineup, the Irish were technically starting four guards thought Harvey and Pflueger both bring some size at 6’6″ each.
Game time on Saturday is 3:15 with the game broadcast on ESPN2.