Dec. 4, 2016
By Robby Hamman
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Notre Dame (8-0) defeated North Carolina A&T (1-7) in commanding fashion on Sunday evening inside Purcell Pavilion, winning by a final score of 107-53 to stay perfect on the season. Notre Dame’s 8-0 start matches the program’s best start during the Mike Brey era, as the 2010-11 team also started 8-0.
A Notre Dame record seven players finished in double figures against the Aggies, as V.J. Beachem (19 points), Matt Ryan (17), Matt Farrell (15), Steve Vasturia (13), T.J. Gibbs (12), Bonzie Colson (10) and Rex Pflueger (10) all finished with 10-plus points. The Irish also connected on a season-high 19 three pointers, finishing one shy of matching the all-time program record.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Irish offense continued its recent trend of high scoring first halves, as the team posted 45 points over the opening 20 minutes of play to take a 16-point lead into the halftime intermission at 45-29. Notre Dame knocked down nine shots from beyond the arc and went 6-of-6 from the free throw line.
As impressive as the team’s first half performance seemed, the team found an even higher gear in the second stanza. The Irish scored 62 points on 22-of-32 (68.8 percent) shooting from the field, including a 10-of-15 (66.7 percent) effort from three point range. The 62 points are the most Notre Dame has scored in a half this season. The Irish defense was also locked in over the final 20 minutes, holding North Carolina A&T to just 24 points to make the final score 107-53.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Farrell was extremely efficient on the offensive end against the Aggies, scoring 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting. The junior did a majority of his damage from distance, connecting on a career-high 4-of-5 attempts from beyond the arc. Farrell also added four assists, two rebounds and a steal in his 22 minutes of action.
NOTRE DAME STAT OF THE GAME I
For the first time in program history seven Irish players finished with 10-plus points in a game. Notre Dame had six players in double figures earlier this season in the win over Seattle on Nov. 16. The seven players combined for 96 of Notre Dame’s 107 points. Beachem led the team with 19 points and Ryan added 17.
NOTRE DAME STAT OF THE GAME II
The Irish nearly made history in another statistical category on Sunday, as the team recorded 19 makes from three point range, finishing one shy of tying the all-time record. The Notre Dame record stands at 20 makes and was set in a win over Villanova on Feb. 28, 2011. Ryan poured in five three pointers, while Farrell and Gibbs each made four from beyond the arc.
NOTES OF THE GAME
- The 54-point victory was the largest in the 48-year history of Purcell Pavilion (formerly known as the Joyce Center) and marks Notre Dame’s sixth largest margin of victory in program history.
- Irish eclipsed the 100-point mark for the first time since doing so against Coppin State on Nov. 19, 2014. The 107 points are the most Notre Dame has scored since putting up 108 points against Northern Illinois on Dec. 8, 2007.
- The Irish finished with a season-high 29 assists, marking the second most the team has had in a game during the Brey era.
- The 62-point second half is tied for third in the most points Notre Dame has scored in a half under Brey.
- The Irish went a perfect 14-for-14 from the foul line after entering Sunday’s game second in the nation for free throw percentage with a mark of 84.5 percent.
- Notre Dame has scored 40-plus points in the first half of seven of its eight games this season and have held the lead at the intermission in all eight outings.
- Notre Dame outrebounded the Aggies 44-31 and have now posted more rebounds in six of eight games this season.
- Colson recorded 10 points and 11 rebounds, marking his fifth straight double-double. The last Notre Dame player to record five consecutive double-doubles was Zach Auguste, who did so from 2/24-3/10 of the 2015-16 season.
- Beachem’s 19 points mark his 14th consecutive game with double-figure scoring.
The Irish close out a four-game homestand at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6, as Notre Dame welcomes Fort Wayne to Purcell Pavilion.
— 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.