Notre Dame moved to 2-0 on the season with an 88-62 defeat of Mount St. Mary's at Purcell Pavilion Monday evening to open the team's home schedule.
Heading into halftime the Irish led by just eight at 40-32, but again caught fire offensively in the second half to pull away and take down the Mountaineers.
Both Bonzie Colson (27 points, 11 rebounds) and Rex Plueger (13 points, 10 rebounds) notched double-doubles. It was the 25th career double-double for Colson while Pflueger notched his first.
Here are some quick notes and stats from the win. Full box score can be FOUND HERE.
PLAY AND HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME
In a 26-point game it’s hard to come up with a single play that stood out, but Notre Dame’s first bucket in the second half sticks out as it set the tone for the rest of the contest.
Mount St. Mary’s started with the ball, but the Irish were able to force a quick stop. On the other end, senior big man Martinas Geben converted an and-one to give the Irish their first double-digit lead of the game at 43-32.
That bucket was the start of a 14-0 run by Notre Dame which ultimately put the Mountaineers away.
The Irish need to come out with more energy in the second half offensively and Geben’s bucket was just the beginning of a strong half offensively where the Irish shot 62.5 percent (20-of-32) from the field in the final 20 minutes.
Geben scored nine points and grabbed two rebounds.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
When watching Notre Dame, Colson always jumps out given his skills offensively and ability to hold his own on the boards. Colson grabbed a game-high 27 points and 11 rebounds, but BGI’s Player of the Game goes to Pflueger.
The junior scored a career-high 13 points and followed it up with a career-high in rebounds with 10 and added five assists. It was an all-around performance for Pflueger after struggling a bit offensively against DePaul in the opener.
Pflueger’s impact on the defensive end won’t always show up on the stat sheet, but the junior continued to be a force on that end and exert a lot of energy.
SECOND HALF STRONG
Notre Dame has now played two games this season and in both the second halves were quite friendly to the Irish after some struggles in the first.
Against DePaul, the Irish shot 39.3 percent (11-of-28) from the floor including 3-of-15 from deep. But they responded in the second half with a 9-of-12 effort behind the arc to help finish 25-of-53 (47.2 percent) on field goals.
It was much of the same against Mount St. Mary’s with Notre Dame shooting 41.9 percent (13-of-31) in the first half before following it up with a 20-of-32 (62.5 percent) showing during the final 20 minutes.
THIRD SCORING OPTION
Colson and senior point guard Matt Farrell will typically be the top two scoring options for the Irish this season. Finding a third scorer will be the key for the success of the team this team.
Sophomore guard TJ Gibbs showcased his ability against DePaul scoring a career-high 21 points. Tonight it was Pflueger getting his career-high in points.
It’s just two games, so there isn’t a trend just yet for the Irish. But, it’s a good sign that multiple players can step up on a given night to product offensively and make an impact while taking some of the pressure off Colson and Farrell.
WHAT THE WIN MEANS
Beating Mount St. Mary’s, though a NCAA Tournament team last year, isn’t going to make too many headlines, but it keeps momentum in the right direction.
The Mountaineers provided a tough challenge in the first half forcing Notre Dame to focus and buckle down on both ends which isn’t always a bad thing early in the season.
Brey was also able to get freshman DJ Harvey into the game for 24 points to continue his development. Junior big man Elijah Burns saw 15 minutes of action. Those two players could be important for the Irish as the season rolls along.
Matt Farrell: +23
TJ Gibbs: +20
Rex Pflueger: +22
Bonzie Colson: +27
Martinas Geben: +19
Elijah Burns: -4
DJ Harvey: +16
John Mooney: +5
Nik Djogo: +2
Matt Gregory: 0
Liam Nelligan: 0
OTHER STATS OF NOTE
Notre Dame held Mount St. Mary’s to a 31 percent (11-of-35) clip from behind the arc.
The Irish forced 13 turnovers while doing so just six times.
Notre Dame turned those 13 turnovers to 19 points.
Colson notched his 25th career double-double tonight.
Sophomore Nik Djogo saw his first action in an Irish uniform.
Notre Dame recorded six blocks and eight steals.
The Irish hit 18-of-19 (95 percent) from the charity stripe.