Feb. 24, 2018
By Robby Hamman
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — With the game tied at 71-71 and time winding down, senior guard Matt Farrell found himself in a familiar position with the ball in his hands and the game on the line. Farrell dribbled around the arc, drawing a double team, and then crossed over and elevated from deep to knock down the game-winning shot to give Notre Dame (17-12, 7-9 ACC) the win over Wake Forest (11-18, 4-13 ACC).
Farrell is no stranger to coming up with clutch plays, as he has made countless huge plays for the Irish over the past two seasons. The senior finished the game with 21 points.
Fellow senior Martinas Geben also had an impressive performance, matching his career high in points with 22 and grabbing a game-high 14 rebounds. Sophomore guard T.J. Gibbs also had a big day on the offensive end, finishing with 20 points to lead the Irish to the win.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Irish trailed for most of the first half but kept within striking distance, never letting the Wake Forest lead to get to more than five points. The Demon Deacons took a five-point advantage with the score 41-36 into the halftime intermission.
Wake Forest’s lead grew to as many as nine points in the second half, as the hosts were on top 69-60 with eight minutes left in regulation.
With its back against the wall, Notre Dame dug in on the defensive end and shut down the Demon Deacons’ offense, holding them scoreless over the next five minutes of play. During that stretch, the Irish reeled off an 11-0 run to go on top 71-69 with a little more than three minutes left on the clock.
Wake Forest managed to tie the game at 71-71 off two made free-throw attempts and then both sides had a number of opportunities to retake the lead but were unable to convert. Farrell hit the aforementioned winning shot as the shot clock expired and just six seconds were left in the game.
The Irish sealed the win on defense, as Geben stole the inbounds pass and was fouled. The senior made both free throws to give Notre Dame the 76-71 victory.
NOTRE DAME PLAYER OF THE GAME
Farrell came up with the late-game heroics but Geben led the Irish on the offensive end with 22 points on 10-of-18 shooting. The senior was a beast underneath, grabbing 14 rebounds to complete his fifth double-double of the season. The 22 points are tied for his career high.
NOTRE DAME STAT OF THE GAME
The Irish shot the ball extremely well from the free-throw line at Wake Forest, converting 18-of-20 attempts. Gibbs led the way, sinking all seven of his attempts and Farrell also had a notable game from the line, finishing 5-for-5.
NOTES OF THE GAME
- Notre Dame improves to 5-3 against Wake Forest in the all-time series.
- The Irish extended their win streak to five games against the Demon Deacons.
- Notre Dame had three players finish with 20-plus points in a game for the first time since Bonzie Colson, Demetrius Jackson and Steve Vasturia achieved the feat against Duke on Jan. 16, 2016.
- Farrell became the 62nd player in program history to reach the 1,000-point milestone on Saturday. The senior now has 1,005 points in his career.
- Farrell has now scored 20-plus points in seven games this season.
- With four made three-pointers, Farrell is 13th in program history for career three-point makes with 174. The guard has made four or more three-pointers in six of his last seven games.
- Gibbs has recorded 20 or more points in nine outings this season and has reached double figures in 17 straight.
- With 22 points, Geben has finished with 20-plus in the scoring column two times during his senior campaign.
- Nikola Djogo grabbed a career-high nine rebounds against Wake Forest.
The Irish return home for their final game inside Purcell Pavilion of the season, as Notre Dame hosts Pittsburgh at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb. 28. The game will air live on ESPNU.
— 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.