March 6, 2018
By Robby Hamman
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Notre Dame (19-13, 8-10 ACC) survived a late comeback attempt from Pittsburgh (8-24, 0-18 ACC) to win its first round game of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament by a final score of 67-64. With the victory, the Irish move on to face Virginia Tech in the second round at 7 p.m. ET tomorrow on ESPN2.
Senior Bonzie Colson continued his impressive run of play since returning from injury, leading the team on the offensive end with 19 points. Fellow senior Matt Farrell scored 18 in the win, while junior Rex Pflueger added 13 points and sophomore T.J. Gibbs finished with 11.
In the victory, Glenn and Stacey Murphy Head Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Brey recorded the 500th win of his coaching career. Brey is now the 23rd active Division I coach to reach the 500-win milestone in his career.
How It Happened
The Irish used a strong performance on the defensive end of the floor in the opening half to build a 12-point lead at the break with the score 36-24. Notre Dame held Pittsburgh to a 9-of-32 (28.1 percent) shooting effort from the field over the first 20 minutes while the Irish connected on 14-of-29 (48.3 percent) attempts.
Farrell, Pflueger and Colson carried the offense in the first frame, combining to score 28 points.
The shooting touch escaped Notre Dame in the first 11 minutes of the second half, allowing Pitt to get back into the game. The Panthers pulled within three with nine minutes to go, making the score 48-45. The Irish responded by outscoring the Panthers 13-5 over the next six minutes to extend their lead to 11.
The Panthers made one last run, cutting Notre Dame’s lead to just two points with 49 ticks left. However, Colson and Farrell each knocked down two free throws down the stretch to come away with the 67-64 victory and advance to the second round of the ACC Tournament.
Notre Dame Player Of The Game
Colson made an impact not only on the offensive end but also with his defense. The senior blocked a game-high three shots and recorded two steals to disrupt the Pittsburgh offense. Colson also came up clutch from the free-throw line, finishing 9-of-10 from the charity stripe.
Notre Dame Stat Of The Game
The Irish made a season-high 26 free throws in the win, finishing 26-of-31 from the line (83.9 percent). Even more impressive, Notre Dame went 22-of-25 from the charity stripe in the second half.
- With the win, the Irish are now 7-3 all-time in the ACC Tournament over five seasons.
- Notre Dame improves to 34-30 against Pitt in the all-time series and have won three straight against the Panthers.
- The Irish are now 8-2 all-time at Barclays Center.
- Notre Dame outrebounded Pitt 41-34.
- The Irish finished with just six turnovers, marking the 12th time it has recorded less than 10 turnovers in a game.
- Colson posted his 17th double-digit scoring performance of the year. The senior has finished with 10-plus points in every game he has played this season.
- Farrell has now scored 10-plus points in 23 games this season.
- Gibbs has reached double figures in the scoring column 25 times this season.
- Pflueger has finished with 10-plus points in 13 games this season.
Notre Dame faces Virginia Tech in the second round of the ACC Tournament at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 7. The game will be played at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and will air live on ESPN2.
— 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.