Notre Dame Basketball Report: Irish Head Into “Bye” On a High

© Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Last week was another successful one for the Irish men’s basketball squad, with two road victories at Boston College and North Carolina State that boosted the team’s ACC mark to 10-5 on the year and bumped them up to fourth place within the tightly-contested conference.

That was good enough to boost Notre Dame up four spots to 21st in the weekly AP poll, yet they were unable to make up any ground on conference frontrunner North Carolina. The Tar Heels still remain 1.5 games ahead with just three conference matchups left in the regular season.

Notre Dame Basketball Week in Review

Valentine’s Day was sweet for the Irish as they traveled to Boston and came away with a hard-fought 84-76 victory. First half defensive woes put Notre Dame in a bind that saw them trailing by as many as 13 during the opening 20 minutes, with Boston College hitting 58 percent from the field.

However, a 21-3 surge after the break turned what was a 58-48 deficit for the Irish into a 69-61 lead. The Eagles got the margin down to two at 78-76 with 57 seconds left in the game, at which point the Notre Dame defense came to life and six consecutive wins salted the 84-76 victory away.

Moving on to Raleigh on February 18, the Irish got off to a much better start by jumping out to a 41-28 first half advantage. Things got even better after the break as Notre Dame increased their lead to as many as 23, which allowed them to coast to what eventually became an 81-72 win.

The weapon of choice for the Irish was primarily the three-pointer, ending the afternoon with 13 long-range bombs. As North Carolina State desperately sought to try and pull off a miracle win, Notre Dame’s skill at the foul line again ended any such chance.

Standouts of the Week

V.J. Beacham

Putting up the most impressive numbers for the week, Beacham collected 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the win at Boston College. He followed that up with an even better performance against the Wolfpack, scoring 27, swatting away three shots and grabbing a pair of rebounds. 21 of those points came on his seven three-pointers.

Bonzie Colson

Another steady week for the senior, with a 20-point, six-rebound effort vs. the Eagles of Boston College to start off the week. That was followed by a relatively quiet performance against North Carolina State with 13 points and seven boards.

Matt Farrell

Consistency in the backcourt saw him hit for 19 points, hand out three assists and collect three steals against Boston College, with his three-pointer tying the game during the team’s huge run. Facing the Wolfpack, he only contributed 11 points on his own, though his playmaking skills were in evidence with eight assists.

Steve Vasturia

A pair of all-around performances were worthy of mention, with Vasturia starting off by scoring 15, grabbing six shots off the glass and dishing out seven assists. The numbers dipped somewhat in Raleigh, yet he still ended the day with 15 points, five rebounds, four steals and a pair of assists.

Notre Dame Basketball’s Week Ahead

Catching something of a breather, the only contest on the agenda this week is a rare Sunday night home game against Georgia Tech. Revenge will be in the air for Mike Brey’s squad, which saw a potential win turn into a stunning 62-60 defeat in just a matter of seconds on January 28.

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