(Bonzie Colson (35) chats with Matt Farrell (5) as Steve Vasturia takes late free throws – Photo by Jason Schott)
At the Legends Classic at Barclays Center on Monday night, Notre Dame outlasted Colorado, and Northwestern put a big second half together to trounce Texas.
Notre Dame 89, Colorado 83
Notre Dame dominated this one early, as they used a 12-2 run to jump out to a 31-16 lead halfway through the first half.
They maintained that lead, as they took a 50-35 lead into halftime. Bonzie Colson had 12 points and six rebounds, while Matt Farrell had 10 points and four assists in the first half to lead Notre Dame.
The second half was more of the same early on, as a Colson jumper gave Notre Dame a 64-48 edge around the 10:40 mark.
That was when Colorado started to make a comeback, as they went on a 9-2 run capped by a Xavier Johnson three-pointer to make it 66-57 Notre Dame with around 9:10 left in the game.
Colorado finally got it under 10 points at the 4:50 mark when a Bryce Peters jumper cut Notre Dame’s lead to 71-63.
Notre Dame didn’t budge in the second half, even as Colorado pulled to within four points, 81-77, on a George King three with 45 seconds left.
The Fighting Irish shot 19-for-21 from the free-throw line in the second half, in addition to the 8-8 in the first half, to seal the victory.
Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey said of his team’s performance, “This was a heck of a win for this group. I loved that we got off to a great start. We were flowing offensively. Colorado really guarded us well in the second half. We had to find different ways to play. We made free throws, and it was kind of a grinding game. I’m proud of how we held people off. We have a lot of guys that have been in big games. (They) have won big games and had pressure on them. I thought that experience helped us escape tonight.”
Brey said of how Notre Dame responded to the challenge of beating Colorado, “I never thought we were going to beat them by 20. They’re too good a team. They’re an NCAA Tournament team. I think they’re going to be pretty good in the Pac-12. They could make a run at the Pac-12 title. You’re not just going to put them away. I expected a run. I loved that our guys were poised, and made some big free throws. We had some big defensive rebounds at key times. We handled the ball against pressure at the end of the game.”
Bonzie Colson led Notre Dame with 22 points on 6-13 from the field, 1-1 on threes, and a perfect 9-9 on the free throw line, with 12 rebounds.
Colson said of his performance, “I wanted to stay composed and focused. I wanted to make sure I attacked the glass on both ends. It was something Coach Brey emphasized before the game. We were trying to get all the rebounds. As a collective unit, I think we did really well on that. We stayed composed, and in character during the game.”
Matt Farrell had 20 points on 7-13 shooting, 2-4 on threes, 4-4 on free throws, with six assists and a rebound.
Brey said of Farrell, “He played so well for us in March. We put him in the starting lineup, and he kind of sparked us to the Elite 8. He’s one confident guy given what he did in March. Now, it’s his team. I thought tonight was an absolute clinic on how to play the point guard. He’s getting his hands on steals and getting his teammates involved. He’s making big shots. This was the first time I used him in a big game. I’m excited about where we can go from there.”
Steve Vasturia drained four free throws in the final minute and finished with 17 points on 6-14 shooting, with three assists.
Colorado was led by Xavier Johnson, who had 23 points on 8-15 shooting, including 2-4 on threes, seven rebounds, and two assists. Derrick White had 20 points on 6-14 from the field, including a three-pointer, nine assists, and five rebounds. George King had a double-double with 17 points (7-16 shooting, 3-6 on threes) and 13 rebounds, with an assist.
Northwestern 77, Texas 58
Northwestern put on quite a show to win this one walking away against Texas, who is ranked 22nd in the country.
After Northwestern opened the game on an 11-0 run, Texas came all the way back and took a 23-22 lead at the 7:00 mark on a Tevin Mack three-pointer.
After going back-and-forth over the next three minutes, another Mack three made it 26-25 Texas.
Northwestern closed the first half out on a 9-0 run to take a 34-26 lead into halftime.
They kept that momentum going into the second, jumping out on a 10-1 run capped by a Scottie Lindsey three at the 16:49 mark that made it 44-27.
Northwestern went up 19 on an Isiah Brown three that made it 59-40 with 9:27 remaining, and maintained a 15-point lead the rest of the way.
Northwestern was led by Bryant McIntosh, who had 20 points on 7-18 from the field, including 2-7 on threes, five assists, two steals, and a rebound. Scottie Lindsey had 16 points on 6-12 shooting, 3-7 on threes, four rebounds, and an assist. Dererk Pardon had 10 points on 4-7 shooting, with 11 rebounds, including six on the offensive end, two blocks, and an assist.
TUESDAY AT BARCLAYS CENTER:
Texas will play Colorado in the Legends Classic Consolation Game at 3:30 pm, followed by the Championship Game between Notre Dame and Northwestern at 6:00 pm.