Feb. 5, 2017
By: Robby Hamman
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Trailing by 15 points at 63-48 with 12 minutes to play on the road, Notre Dame (17-7, 6-5 ACC) clawed its way back into the game over the next eight minutes, cutting the North Carolina (21-4, 9-2 ACC) lead to two points with 3:47 left on the clock. Unfortunately for the Irish, that was as close as the team would get, as the Tar Heels withstood the rally and held on to win by a final score of 83-76.
Senior forward V.J. Beachem continued his impressive run of play, scoring 20 or more points for his third straight game with a team-high 20 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Junior guard Matt Farrell poured in 18 points and junior forward Bonzie Colson notched his ACC-best 14th double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
HOW IT HAPPENED
North Carolina built an eight-point advantage over the opening 20 minutes of play to take a 42-34 lead into the halftime break. The Irish trailed by just one at 29-28 with 5:38 left in the first frame before the Tar Heels outscored Notre Dame 13-6 to close the half.
The score moved to 49-41 before North Carolina went on a 14-7 spurt to push its lead to 15 points at 63-48, its largest of the afternoon. The Irish responded by cutting the hosts lead to seven off a make from distance from Farrell with 9:14 remaining. After the two teams traded baskets, pushing the score to 75-68, a Farrell layup and a three from Beachem cut the Tar Heels lead to just two points at 75-73 with 3:47 to play. However, North Carolina answered by scoring eight of the final 11 points to escape with an 83-76 win.
NOTRE DAME PLAYER OF THE GAME
Beachem continued his excellent form on the offensive end on Sunday, leading the team in scoring with 20 points. The Fort Wayne, Indiana native has reached the 20-point mark in each of his last three outings. Beachem finished a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line and added a rebound, block and steal in 34 minutes of action.
STAT OF THE GAME
Despite being undersized, Colson continues to be a force underneath for Notre Dame. The junior notched his 14th double-double of the season against North Carolina, scoring 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Colson leads the ACC in double-doubles on the season (14) and in conference games (7). The forward also added a team-high three blocks and three assists in Greensboro.
NOTES OF THE GAME
- Notre Dame went 17-of-20 from the free-throw line for a percentage of .850. The team has now shot 80 percent or better in 12 games this season.
- Beachem scored 20 points and has now scored 20-plus points eight times this season and nine times in his career.
- With 17 points against the Tar Heels, Colson has now reached double figures in scoring in a team-high 22 outings this season.
- Farrell surpassed the 10-point mark for the 20th time this season with 17 points.
The Irish have a quick turnaround, as Notre Dame returns home to host Wake Forest at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 7 inside Purcell Pavilion. The game will be broadcast on ESPNEWS.
— ND —
Robby Hamman joined Fighting Irish Media as athletics communications assistant director in September 2016, coordinating efforts for the volleyball and men’s lacrosse program. Hamman is a 2010 graduate of Bethel College, where he earned bachelor’s degrees in sport management and business administration, and earned his master’s degree in business administration from Defiance College in 2013.