No.23 Notre Dame gave the No.1 team in the country a run for their money, but in the end it just wasn’t enough as they fell to Villanova 74-66 on Saturday afternoon in Newark, NJ. The Irish came out and smacked the Wildcats in the mouth. They never trailed through the first half and for much of the second, and at one point the Irish led by as much as 11. Junior guard Matt Farrell had a huge first half as the New Jersey native had 12 points and six assists at the break.
After having a big first half Notre Dame’s offense was a no-show in the second. Villanova showed why they are they No.1 team in the country. They held the Irish to just 23 points and 18% from three-point land in the second half. The Wildcats kept Farrell in check in the second half as well. He had just six points and didn’t record an assists in the final frame. He ended up with 18 points on 8-13 shooting.
The Irish also received a huge contribution from another New Jersey native, Steve Vasturia. The senior captain finished with 18 points and three assists.
V.J. Beachem and Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame’s leading scorers, both had off games. Beachem’s string of cold shooting games continued as he was limited to just 4 points on 2-11 shooting and was 0-5 from three. Beachem has shot just 33% from the field and a dreadful 18% from three over his last three games. Colson snapped his five game streak of double-doubles as he was held to 11 points and eight rebounds.
Villanova’s senior guard Josh Hart had a monster afternoon, as accounted for exactly half of the Wildcats points. He singlehandedly brought the Wildcats back in the second half, as he scored 18 of his game high 37 points in the game’s final session. The Big East’s preseason pick for Player of the Year finished the afternoon with 37 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.
Notre Dame will get the next week off for finals before taking on No.18 Purdue next Saturday in the annual Crossroads Classic. Make sure to keep up with us here at One Foot Down as we’ll have more on that matchup.