Heart, Hustle, and Guts: Notre Dame Beats Syracuse without Colson or Farrell.

Playing without All-American Bonzie Colson or star guard Matt Farrell, Notre Dame snapped a five game losing streak at the Carrier Dome to beat Syracuse on their home court for the first time since 2007. Without their stars, Notre Dame needed a total team effort and a dramatic finish to upend the Orange 51-49 with the game winner coming with just under three seconds to go on a put back by Rex Pflueger.

Notre Dame started slow on Saturday afternoon but they finished strong.  The Irish scored just 19 points in the first half but stingy defense kept them in the game and down just nine heading into the second half.  Their strong defense continued in the second half and eventually the offense followed.

TJ Gibbs paced the Irish with 18 points while Pflueger’s game winner gave him 12 on the day.  No other Notre Dame player scored more than 7 points on the afternoon as the rest of the team struggled to find their shots.  Freshman DJ Harvey, fresh off a career high Wednesday night against NC State, scored just 4 points on 1 of 14 shooting including 1 of 7 from three point range.

The Irish were able to stay in the game and eventually come away with the win despite their offensive struggles because of the job they did on the glass – especially on the offensive side of the ball.  Notre Dame picked up 42 rebounds including 21 offensive boards.  Martinas Geben led the charge with a career high 14 rebounds.  He has 27 rebounds combined the last two games since Colson was lost for 8 weeks with a broken foot.

Notre Dame is now 2-0 since Colson’s injury and improved to 13-3 on the season.  On Wednesday the Irish beat NC State to give Mike Brey the program record for wins playing without Colson and while losing Farrell to an ankle injury in the process.

With Colson out, every win is big.  With Colson and Farrell both out today, this one was huge for Notre Dame.  Syracuse came into the contest with an identical 12-3 record like the Irish.  Combine that with Notre Dame’s struggles in upstate New York over the last decade and you have to tip your cap to the Irish and head coach Mike Brey.

The bad news for Notre Dame is that Farrell wont’ be back for Notre Dame’s next contest on Wednesday night when the Irish travel to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech as originally thought. Mike Brey announced after the game that Farrell will likely miss the next four games after stating Wednesday night he would likely only miss today’s contest.  Tip off is 7:00 with the game broadcast on ESPNU.

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  1. Frank

    The title of this piece says it all! Indeed,’ heart, hustle and guts’ shown on defense and on the boards.
    On the road vs. an elite team without their two captains and, arguably, their best players, shooting poorly most of the game- no problem !
    ‘”Although the odds be great or small . . .”
    This basketball program never ceases to amaze me.

  2. It is is refreshing to not see guys getting trapped in corners with double team on. Rex ” tip in specialist” Pfleuger has finally taken over this team. I knew He would after watching Him in His high school days. You ain’t seen nothing yet sports fans.

  3. No Bonzie. No Farrell. No Problem!!!!!!! What a win for the Irish!!!!! Al it takes is a little hustle and a little ? to make this engine???? run. And run it did yesterday!!!!! Go IRISH☘☘☘☘☘☘

    1. Positive Pete Prediction: I think TJ Gibbs is going to be the team MVP by the time we hit the ACC Tourney. ??? Thoughts? He brings a different pace to the game than Farrell. He is a little more in control running the team. And he is a little more clean shaven might I add. With Geben and Torres bringing the D-Fence, we are knocking down pins my friends ??? all the way to tournament time!!!!! GO IRISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Great point Mr Crazy Mike!!! Brey seems to have special bond with his players. Take a peek at the staff ?. Do you notice something?????. You betcha you do. It is filled with ex Notre Dam players like Atkins, Humphreys, etc… Great Coaches like Dean Smith, Coach K, Pat Summitt, etc… all had their ex players on the staff. Brey is a leader and community builder. I give him the Positive Pete ? for what he has built!!!!! Go IRISH!!!!!!!!

  4. Coach Brey is a wizard at getting more out of his players than they knew they even had to give. Awesome step up by Pfleuger (sp?). I just hope the car can run on fumes for a few more games while Farrell recovers! Brey is the man.

    BGC ’77 ’82

  5. Great win. A little upset that after the NC State game where they finally started off on fire, they went back to a slow start. I was hoping they’d turn a corner with their fast start.

    This is a great win, certainly, against an ACC Blue Blood (which ND is starting to become I might add). But they are playing with fire with all these slow starts. But they seem to have adapted well otherwise to the loss of Colson. Pfleuger has stepped up his game, and the rest of the team is doing their part.

    Go Irish!

    1. Pfleuger was huge the entire game. Worked his butt off for offensive rebounds in first half and just stayed aggressive. This team will need that all season long from him. Great to see him get that winning basket. Reminds of his freshmen season tournament tap in!

  6. Farrell probably out two weeks, or next four games, per Brey post game comments.

    Incredible win today!

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