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Notre Dame Basketball: Irish Hold Off Fort Wayne to Improve to 9-0

Fort Wayne tried to make things interesting, but in the end the Irish came away victorious.

NCAA Basketball: IUPU - Ft. Wayne at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

It was closer than it ever should have been, but the No.23 and undefeated Notre Dame men’s basketball team improved to 9-0 on Tuesday night with a 87-72 win over Fort Wayne.

The Irish seemed to be well on their way to an easy win as they held a 27-point lead midway through the second half. Fueled by a 27-13 run, the Mastodons mounted a furious comeback that eventually cut the lead to single digits. It was too little too late though, as Notre Dame, the nation’s best free throw shooting team, sank their free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.

The Irish were led by junior forward Bonzie Colson, as he notched his sixth straight double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds. He almost had a double-double at the half when he went into the locker room with 13 points and nine boards. He showcased the development of his game on Tuesday night. Colson showed he can step back and shoot the long ball (3-5 from 3PT), as well as do the dirty work on the interior.

Watching the game it didn’t feel that he had a big night, but Steve Vasturia quietly had a nice game. The veteran guard had 21 points on 6-11 shooting, and was also a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line.

NCAA Basketball: IUPU - Ft. Wayne at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Farrell and V.J Beachem also finished with double figures with 12 and 14 points respectively. Beachem had an off night shooting the basketball - just 4-14 from the field, 2-11 from three - but he still managed to put up double figures.

Fort Wayne was led by their leading scorer, Mo Evans. Evans was pretty quiet for much of the first half, but he came alive in the second half, finishing with a game high 25 points.

The Irish will now travel to Newark, NJ on Saturday to take on the defending National Champ and No.1 Villanova Wildcats. Tipoff will be at 12:00pm ET and the game will be aired on ESPN. Make sure to keep up with us here at One Foot Down as we’ll have more on that matchup, as well as the win over Fort Wayne.

Other News and Notes

  • Matt Farrell has yet to miss a free throw. He’s a perfect 24-24 from the charity stripe.
  • Notre Dame’s 9-0 start is the first ever under Mike Brey.
  • The last time Notre Dame started 10-0 was in 1973-74 season. That was the season they snapped UCLA’s 88-game winning streak. The Irish take on No.1 Villanova next.
  • Farrell, Beachem, Colson, and Vasturia have combined to shoot 91% from the free throw line this season.
  • The Irish have hit 10 three pointers six times this season, including the last four straight games.