Nov. 22, 2017
By Robby Hamman
MAUI, Hawaii — No. 13/12 Notre Dame (6-0) pulled off a remarkable second-half comeback to defeat No. 6/6 Wichita State by a final score of 67-66 to win the Maui Invitational title.
After Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey drew up a perfect out of bounds play with three seconds left in the game, senior Martinas Geben was fouled and sent to the free-throw line. The senior big man sank both shots to deliver the Irish the championship in a game where they led for a combined 22 seconds.
The veteran trio of Geben, Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell came up huge for Notre Dame on Wednesday evening, as all three finished with 12 or more points. Colson led the team with his fourth double-double of the season, scoring 25 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
Farrell scored 15 points but made possibly the most important play of the night, stealing an inbounds pass and shoveling an assist to Colson to cut the Shockers lead to one and keep the comeback hopes alive with less than a minute remaining in regulation.
Farrell was also named the Maui Invitational MVP following the game. The senior averaged 19.7 points while shooting .500 percent from the field (20-of-40) and .476 from beyond the arc (10-of-21). Farrell also averaged 5.0 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.7 rebounds.
The Irish have now won back-to-back in-season tournaments, also winning the Legends Classic last season in Brooklyn.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Irish had a tough game getting into any type of flow on the offensive end in the first half, scoring just 23 points on 11-of-27 shooting. Wichita State scored 37 to take a 14-point lead into the half. Colson led the Irish with eight points and five rebounds after the opening 20 minutes of action.
Notre Dame cut the deficit in half just a little over five minutes into the second half, knocking down six of its first eight shots to make the score 46-39. The two sides traded baskets over the next seven minutes of play and the Shockers held a 62-53 lead with seven minutes remaining.
Over the next three minutes the Irish locked in on the defensive end, allowing Notre Dame to go on an 8-0 run to cut the Wichita State lead to just one at 62-61 with 3:50 left on the clock. Each time Notre Dame cut the lead to one Wichita State would respond with a jumper to push it back to three until the aforementioned ending ensued to give the Irish the victory.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Colson continued his run of great performances against the country’s top teams, leading the Irish in scoring with 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting and pulling down a team-high 11 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.
NOTRE DAME STAT OF THE GAME
After struggling to find the shooting stroke in the first half the Irish rebounded to score 44 points against Wichita State’s vaunted defense in the second stanza. Notre Dame made 58.3 percent from the floor in the second on 14-of-24 shooting. The Irish also used the free-throw line to their benefit, knocking down 13-of-15 from the stripe, including the two huge ones from Geben to win it.
NOTES OF THE GAME
- Glenn and Stacey Murphy Head Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Brey now has 388 victories as Notre Dame’s head coach and is just six shy of passing Digger Phelps as the outright all-time program record holder.
- The Irish are now 3-1 against Wichita State in the all-time series.
- Notre Dame improves to 54-35 when playing in-season tournament games and has won eight straight.
- Prior to Wednesday’s victory, the last time Notre Dame defeated the Associated Press No. 6 team came during the program’s last trip to the Maui Invitational in 2008, when the Irish defeated Texas by a score of 81-80.
- Colson his second 20+ point performance of the season and 16th of his career.
- Colson logged his fourth double-double of the season and 27th of his career, tied for 15th in program history with former great John Shumate.
- Farrell has knocked down a three-pointer in 32 consecutive games, the longest streak of any active player in the ACC.
- Farrell has finished with 10+ points in all six games this season.
- Geben shot a perfect 5-for-5 from the field to finish with 10 points, marking the second striaght game he has finished in double figures scoring and third time in his career.
The Irish return to the mainland to face its second straight top 10 opponent, as Notre Dame travels to Michigan State to face the Spartans in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30. The game will air on ESPN.
— 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.