The Notre Dame Fighting Irish hosted the St. Francis (BKN) Terriers in South Bend on Sunday afternoon, looking to rebound from the blowout loss in East Lansing to Michigan State. The Terriers entered Sunday’s contest with a record of 2-5, while the Irish were sitting at 6-1.
Early on, Notre Dame took a few minutes to wake up and play with any passion or energy. With six minutes left in the first half, the Irish led 24-19 and it looked like St. Francis may be able to hang around.
But from that idea didn’t last until halftime. The Irish went on a 19-6 run to close the first half, including 15-3 over the last four minutes. It was 43-25 Irish at halftime, behind 10 points and five boards a piece from Bonzie Colson and Martinas Geben. Rex Pfleuger contributed six points and four boards in the first half, and the Irish shot 55 percent with 22 of their points coming in the paint. The Terriers shot only 30 percent in the first half, and Mike Brey lauded his team’s defense in the pre-halftime interview.
The Irish maintained a double-digit lead throughout the second half despite not shooting the ball as well as they did in the first. However, the fun started with about six minutes left in the game. Bonzie Colson came down with a rebound and was awarded with slaps on the arms by St. Francis players. Colson moved to protect the ball and in the process, caught 5’11” St. Francis guard Glen Sanabria across the face with his elbow. As a result, Colson was ejected, which apparently set off coach Mike Brey. While the crack ESPN/ACC Network crew was zooming in on the crowd randomly with no real focal point or purpose, coach Brey apparently had a discussion with a referee that resulted in two technical fouls and an ejection for the loosest coach in America.
I have no idea what actually happened, but following all the free points, the Irish had a 13 point lead. Matt Farrell somehow got a technical a few minutes later, as did St. Francis’ D.J. Porter, which turned out to be... not important at all. Despite the drama, Notre Dame pulled away late without their coach and their All American, winning by 18.
In the 71-53 win, Notre Dame shot 41 percent, and Colson finished with 13 points and nine rebounds before his ejection. Geben had his first double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Farrell had 12 points, and Gibbs had 10. Looking forward, the 7-1 Irish host the Ball State Cardinals from the MAC on Tuesday night in the Joyce Center at Purcell Pavilion.