Nov. 21, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame forward Zach Auguste didn’t have to look hard to find an edge against UMass Lowell on Saturday.
A choice matchup against a school Auguste estimated was, ”about 17 minutes from my house,” in Marlborough, Mass., was enough to get the 6-foot-10 forward fired up.
With no River Hawk taller than 6-foot-8 to challenge him in the post, Auguste dominated, scoring 19 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in No. 18 Notre Dame’s 83-57 victory.
”A couple of guys mentioned to me I’ve got to dominate inside, especially on the glass, and I’ve got to impose my will,” Auguste said. ”Obviously, they didn’t have size so I had to take advantage of that, and I think I did.”
Auguste found his way to the basket early and often, scoring 15 of his points in the first half on 6-of-8 shooting.
Irish coach Mike Brey said the performance was a sign of the senior co-captain’s maturity.
”I’ve been really pleased with him,” Brey said. ”He’s playing the way he’s practiced. Very consistent.”
Demetrius Jackson had 15 points and five assists for the Irish (3-0), Bonzie Colson added 11 points and tied his career high with nine rebounds, and Steve Vasturia added 12 points.
Matt Harris scored 16 points to lead UMass Lowell (1-2) in the first meeting of the schools.
Notre Dame opened the second half with a 7-0 run and took a 21-point lead on Vasturia’s 3-pointer. That advantage increased to 30 six minutes later on Jackson’s pull-up jumper from the right baseline as the Irish cruised.
Lowell struggled, hitting three of its first 17 shots, including seven straight misses. Notre Dame went on a 9-0 run in that stretch to go up by 17 points halfway through the first half.
”(Auguste) is so much bigger and stronger than our guys,” Lowell coach Pat Duquette said. ”That was one of the things going into the game that was going to be a tough matchup for us.”
Brey took the opportunity to go deep into his bench, but the River Hawks found their range, hitting three straight 3-pointers, including back-to-back 3s by reserve D.J. Mlachnik. That cut the Irish lead to single digits at 33-24 with three minutes left in the first half.
The Irish starters returned to the floor at that point and scored the final five points of the half to push their advantage to 14 at the break.
”Maybe we’re more of an eight-man rotation,” Brey said. ”Hopefully, we can be better getting out and defensing the (3-point) arc.”
Brey pointed to 6-7 sophomore Austin Torres as the likely first ”big” off the bench for the Irish as they head to Orlando for Advocare Invitational.
”He’s extremely active,” Brey said. ”That’s no mystery, we saw it last year.”
Notre Dame improved to 60-1 at home in the month of November under head coach Mike Brey, and 15-0 all-time against the America East Conference.
Lowell freshman Isaac White leads team in scoring at 16 points per game and hit a last-second shot to beat Sacred Heart for the River Hawks’ only win.
Notre Dame takes on Monmouth on Thursday in the Advocare Invitational in Orlando, Fla.
Lowell returns home to face Wheelock on Tuesday.