Notre Dame Basketball Report: Irish Keep Climbing Polls

© Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
© Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

A mixed bag last week for the Notre Dame men’s basketball team helped send them into a three-way tie for the lead in the ACC with the North Carolina Tar Heels and Florida State Seminoles. The reason for this dogfight, with all three teams deadlocked with 6-1 conference records, stems from the road loss the Irish suffered in Tallahassee against Florida State.

Notre Dame was able to rebound on Saturday afternoon with a convincing win over the Syracuse Orangemen and enters this week with an overall mark of 17-3. Despite that loss against the now sixth-ranked Seminoles, the Irish still managed to move up one spot to 14th in the AP poll.

Notre Dame Basketball Week in Review

The most painful aspect of the 83-80 loss to the Seminoles is that the Irish had the lead with just under six minutes left in the game. At that point, Notre Dame’s chances for a huge victory disintegrated in the wake of a devastating 11-1 Florida State run.

The defeat also ended up wasting a remarkable long-range shooting effort on the part of the Irish as they connected on 15 of their 21 three-point attempts. Nine of those came during the second half, yet a season-high turnover total of 19 ended up being fatal. Those miscues were especially head-scratching since Notre Dame entered the game ranked second in the country for fewest turnovers.

Against Syracuse, the Irish stayed hot from beyond the three-point line by connecting 11 times in their 84-66 win. The Orangemen scored the first basket of the game before the Irish went ahead and kept the lead for the remainder of the game. During the first half, the lead reached as high as 12, with a 9-0 Notre Dame surge in the opening minutes after intermission effectively ending the contest.

Notre Dame Basketball Standouts

  • V.J. Beachem – Following a solid performance with 14 points and four rebounds against the Seminoles, Beachem managed to notch a career-high 30 points in the Syracuse win. He also ended up grabbing seven boards while also contributing a pair of blocked shots.
  • Bonzie Colson – An uncharacteristic quiet night against Florida State saw Colson fail to reach double figures in either points or rebounds as he ended the disappointing evening with just nine points and eight boards. However, he bounced back with 14 points and 14 rebounds against the Orangemen, while also dishing out three assists.
  • Matt Farrell – Farrell was consistent in the scoring column and especially strong on the playmaking side last week. His 17 points and seven assists against the Seminoles was followed by 15 points and nine assists in the Syracuse clash. For good measure, he also grabbed a pair of rebounds in the latter game.
  • Steve Vasturia – Vasturia led the Irish in scoring against Florida State by tossing in 18 and also hauling in five rebounds. Back in South Bend, he served as more of a complement to his teammates with a solid overall performance of 11 points, three rebounds and four assists.

Notre Dame’s Week Ahead

Another challenge awaits Notre Dame on Tuesday night as they host the 12th-ranked Virginia Cavaliers, with a victory in this game offering the Irish the opportunity to move closer to a spot in the Top 10. On Saturday, a matchup in Atlanta against Georgia Tech is on tap, with Notre Dame needing to remain aware about the dangers of looking ahead. That’s because the team’s next two games will be against Duke and North Carolina, respectively.

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  1. I found the FSU game to be frustrating in the extreme. It seemed to me they just weren’t sinking shots. They kept bouncing off the rim. Had they had more consistent shooting, they would have won that game. Maybe I’m overly critical but it just seemed they were a bit sloppy. Against Syracuse they were much more consistent thankfully.

    I’m glad to see Beachem contribute much more. He seemed quiet starting the season but has been a much better contributor lately. I’d like to see Pfleuger on the court more, he makes some great shots.

  2. Looks like we’re on our way to joining the Top 10. Its tougher to stay there than to get to there. Look at UCLA last weekend at home.

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