Coach Mike Brey and No. 14 Notre Dame Men’s Basketball (MBB) defeated the DePaul Blue Demons in the season opener of the 2017-18 season. Notre Dame MBB won 72-58 at Wintrust Arena, getting the win on the road.
Continuing with the momentum from their first three exhibition games, Notre Dame Fighting Irish came to play against DePaul. T.J. Gibbs led the team in points with 21, breaking his career-high of 13 points.
Certain Players Step Up:
Captains Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell also played well, scoring 18 and 15 points respectively. Colson won ACC Preseason Player of the Year; this success in exhibition games is likely to transfer over into the regular season. Colson led Notre Dame in rebounds and assists, having 13 rebounds and 5 assists.
Brey made a comment after the game talking about Colson saying, “You know, the sky’s the limit. I thought he took good shots tonight… He lets the game come to him.” He also commented saying how he made an outstanding effort rebounding tonight, which gave Notre Dame the competitive defensive edge that they needed to win.
The Fighting Irish ended the first half ahead by four, defending the Blue Demons off with a score of 29-25. DePaul fired back in the second half, only down 31-30. Notre Dame shut DePaul down quickly, though, and extended the lead to seven.
Notre Dame MBB ended the game with a 47.2% in field goals while DePaul only shot 33.8%, leading to their downfall. Although Notre Dame had 9 turnovers compared to Depaul’s 4, the Irish out rebounded the Blue Demons 40-36.
The game was close throughout the first half and halfway through the second half, but the Fighting Irish began to pull away as the second half progressed. Coach Brey says, “I thought our defense was really good the whole game and that we eventually got into some good offensive rhythm.”
DePaul struggled from beyond the arc, shooting only a 22.7%, while Notre Dame shot a 44.4%. This was one of the factors leading to DePaul’s loss at their home season opener.
Up next for the Fighting Irish is their home opener against Mount Saint Mary’s, at the Joyce Center, on Monday at 7 PM.