Much like the opener against DePaul, Notre Dame (2-0) used a strong second half to close out Mount St. Mary’s (0-2) 88-62 in the home opener at Purcell Pavilion.
The Mountaineers took a 23-20 lead with just six minutes left in the half before Notre Dame caught fire and reeled off a 11-0 to turn a three-point deficit to an eight-point advantage.
Senior forward Bonzie Colson continued to show why he received numerous accolades in the preseason recording his second double-double of the season with 27 points and 11 rebounds, both game-highs.
Junior guard Rex Pflueger joined the double-double party for his first in an Irish uniform with a career-high 13 points and 10 rebounds in the win. He added five assists to his total. Senior point guard Matt Farrell also notched 13 points and five assists.
Here is a quick summary of how each unfolded for Notre Dame in its win over Mount St. Mary’s. Full box score can be FOUND HERE.
For the second straight outing, Notre Dame struggled out of the gate hitting just five of its first 20 shots for a 25 percent clip.
But the Irish hit 8-of-11 to end the half to finish the first 20 minutes of action 13-of-31 (41.9 percent) from the floor including 2-of-10 from deep.
Mount St. Mary’s kept it close in the opening minutes of the half and had it tied at 14 with 9:16 left. The Mountaineers even took a 23-20 lead with 6:23 remaining before Notre Dame ripped off an 11-0 run to go up 31-23.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Mount St. Mary’s closed that lead quickly back down to two points before a 9-3 run to close the half gave Notre Dame a 40-32 advantage at the break.
Colson led the Irish in the scoring department early grabbing six of the team’s first 11 points including the opening bucket. The senior notched a line of 16 points and six rebounds in the half. Pflueger put together a solid half with nine points and seven rebounds thanks to a 7-of-8 clip from the charity stripe.
The Irish were unable to keep Mount St. Mary’s leading scorer, guard Junior Robinson, in check allowing the 5-foot-5 guard to score 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting. The Mountaineers hit six threes in the half to keep within striking distance.
Notre Dame continued its strong ending to the first and carried it over to the early stages of the second half connecting on five of its first seven shots. That was part of a 14-0 run to extend the Irish advantage to 57-32 with 16:10 left in the game.
Senior big man Martinas Geben got it going with an and-one opportunity to open the second half which was followed by a pair of TJ Gibbs’ free throws and a dunk by Geben. A 7-0 run from the 6:52 mark to 4:22 pushed the Irish lead back to 23 after the Mountaineers cut it down to 16.
To complement the offensive, the Irish held Mount St. Mary’s to a 4-of-15 (26.7 percent) clip in the first eight minutes of the second half. But three three-pointers helped cut the Irish lead from 22 to 17 at the under-12 timeout.
The Irish continued to play well on the offensive end while doing their part defensively. Colson scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds in the half to record his 25th career double-double finishing with 27 points and 14 rebounds. It was his second double-double of the season.
In the second half, Notre Dame shot 20-of-32 (62.5 percent) from the floor including knocking down its lone two attempts from deep.
Notre Dame also shut down Robinson in the second half allowing the senior to score just two points on 1-of-8 shooting.
Gibbs finished with nine points on 3-of-8 shooting after scoring a career-high 21 against DePaul in the opener. Freshman wing DJ Harvey contributed six points and three rebounds while junior big man Elijah Burns notched seven points and four rebounds.
Sophomore John Mooney connected on 2-of-3 shots to score four points while grabbing two rebounds.