Dec. 9, 2017
By Robby Hamman
NEWARK, Del. — No. 9/8 Notre Dame got back on track on Saturday evening, picking up a 92-68 road victory at Delaware to improve to 8-2 on the season. Four Notre Dame players finished in double figures in the scoring column, as the Irish had too many weapons for the Blue Hens to contain in the win.
The Notre Dame backcourt was impressive in the sold-out, road environment, as senior Matt Farrell poured in 24 points and fellow guard T.J. Gibbs added 21 to carry the Irish. Senior preseason All-American selection Bonzie Colson also stuffed the stat sheet, recording a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
The matchup was unique for a number of reasons. The contest was Glenn and Stacey Murphy Head Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Brey’s first back at Delaware since he roamed the Blue Hens’ sideline as the head coach from 1995-2000. The matchup also pitted Brey against his former player and assistant coach Martin Inglesby, who took the reigns of the Delaware program last season.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After getting off to a slow start to begin the game, the Irish offense kicked into gear in the latter stages of the first half to give Notre Dame a 38-27 lead at the halftime break. Gibbs led the charge, scoring 12 of his 14 first-half points in the final 7:15 of play. The Irish shot 13-of-26 from the field while holding the Blue Hens to an 11-of-34 effort over the first 20 minutes of action.
Notre Dame came out of the intermission locked in and wasted little time adding to its lead in the second stanza. The Irish opened the half by outscoring Delaware 19-9 to open up a 21-point advantage, which ballooned to as many as 26 points. Notre Dame controlled the game for the rest of the way en route to the 92-68 victory.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
After struggling to find his shot the past few games, Farrell broke out in a big way against Delaware, scoring a game-high 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field and 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. The senior was also an effective floor general, recording a team-high seven assists and adding two rebounds and a block. The five makes from distance tie a career high for the senior.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
The Irish turned in their best night from a three-point percentage standpoint this season, going 13-for-23 to finish with a mark of 56.5 percent. Gibbs and Farrell did the majority of the damage from distance, combining to shoot 9-of-16 from beyond the arc. The 13 makes from three-point range are the second most the team has recorded this season.
NOTES OF THE GAME
- Brey now has 390 victories as Notre Dame’s head coach and is just four shy of passing Digger Phelps as the outright all-time program record holder.
- The Irish improve to 2-0 against Delaware in the all-time series.
- Notre Dame is 5-1 when playing away from Purcell Pavilion this season.
- With 19 points, Colson has now finished in double figures in the scoring column in all 10 games this season and extended his active streak to 27 consecutive games.
- Colson posted his fifth double-double of the season and 28th of his career, moving to 15th in program history while passing former great John Shumate.
- After scoring 24 points at Delaware, Farrell has finished with 20-plus points two times this season and five times in his career.
- Gibbs turned in his fourth 20-plus point performance of the year with 21 points on Saturday.
- Martinas Geben recorded a career-high 12 rebounds in the winning effort and has finished with double-digit boards two times this season and three times in his career.
- Rex Pflueger logged his fourth double-figure scoring game of the season and seventh of his career after scoring 10 points versus the Blue Hens.
The Irish return to action in a week, as Notre Dame heads to Indianapolis to face Indiana in the annual Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Arena. Tip is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Dec. 16 and the game will be broadcast live on FOX.
— 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.