Dec. 30, 2017
By Robby Hamman
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Notre Dame (11-3, 1-0 ACC) opened up play in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 68-59 victory over Georgia Tech (6-7, 0-1 ACC) on Saturday afternoon inside Purcell Pavilion. The Irish used a strong second-half performance to get the win, outscoring the Yellow Jackets 45-31 over the last 20 minutes.
In the winning effort, Glenn and Stacey Miller Head Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Brey recorded win number 393 at Notre Dame to tie former head coach Digger Phelps as the winningest coach in program history.
Bonzie Colson, a consensus preseason All-American, put together a monster performance in the conference opener, scoring 22 points and tying his career-high in rebounds with 17. Four other Irish players finished in double figures, as Martinas Geben (12), Rex Pflueger (11), Matt Farrell (10) and T.J. Gibbs (10) all helped carry the offensive load.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Notre Dame trailed by five at the halftime break with the score 28-23 in favor of Georgia Tech. The Irish struggled on the offensive end, knocking down just nine shots in the first 20 minutes. However, the Notre Dame defense kept the team in the game, holding the Yellow Jackets to just 10-of-26 shooting (38.5 percent). Colson led Notre Dame with eight points and six rebounds at the half.
The Irish came out of the intermission locked in on both ends of the floor, outscoring the visitors 19-6 to take a 42-34 lead with just under 12 minutes left in regulation. Georgia Tech cut the Notre Dame lead to four at 44-40 but the Irish responded with a 7-0 run to go on top by 11. The Irish lead never dipped below eight points for the remainder of the afternoon, as the host won by a final of 68-59.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Colson continued his incredible run of play on Saturday, leading the team in scoring (22), rebounding (17), blocks (3) and steals (2) to deliver the Irish the victory. Colson has now posted nine double-doubles on the season. The senior tied his career high for rebounds against Georgia Tech. Colson saved his best play for the second half, scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds over the last 20 minutes of action.
NOTRE DAME STAT OF THE NIGHT
The Irish owned the glass against the Yellow Jackets, outrebounding the opposition 45-34. Notre Dame is now 10-0 when outrebounding its opponent. The rebounding advantage led to the Irish scoring 16 second-chance points while holding Georgia Tech scoreless in second-chance opportunities.
NOTES OF THE GAME
- Brey now has 393 victories as Notre Dame’s head coach and is tied with Digger Phelps as the all-time program record holder.
- The Irish are now 6-3 against Georgia Tech when meeting in ACC play.
- Notre Dame improves to 4-1 in both overall ACC openers and ACC home openers.
- Colson scored 22 points and passed the 1,500-point milestone for his career, as he now has 1,517 points. The senior is the eighth player in program history to score at least 1,500 points and grab 800 rebounds.
- Colson has now finished in double figures in the scoring column in all 14 games this season and extended his active streak to 31 consecutive games.
- Colson’s 17 rebounds are a season-high for the senior and match the best mark of his career.
- Colson posted his ninth double-double of the season and 32nd of his career, moving into a tie with current Notre Dame assistant coach Ryan Humphrey and former standout Jack Cooley for 13th in program history.
- After scoring 10 points against the Yellow Jackets, Farrell has finished with 10-plus points in every contest this season (14 games).
- Geben turned in his sixth double-digit scoring performance of the year with 12 points on Saturday.
- For the fifth time this season and eighth in his career, Pflueger finished with 10-plus points, scoring 11 against Georgia Tech.
- With 10 points, Gibbs finished in double figures in the scoring column for the ninth time this season.
- Rex Pflueger dished out six assists, matching his career high for the statistical category.
The Irish are back in action at home against NC State at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Jan. 3 inside Purcell Pavilion. The game will be streamed live on WatchESPN/ACC Network Extra.
— 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.