Well, it happened at Purcell Pavilion as both Bonzie Colson and Mike Brey were sent to the locker room prematurely with 6:02 remaining in the game.
Notre Dame eventually won the game comfortably 71-53, but the second half was anything but for the Irish.
Both the fans and the team alike figured Sunday’s matchup against St.Francis would be a nice, easy, bounce-back win for the 5th ranked Irish basketball team but they would be proven wrong. Things were going quite smoothly for Notre Dame heading into halftime but the wheels began to fall apart once the second half began.
The madness commenced when Bonzie Colson was whistled for an offensive foul which was reviewed and eventually given as a Flagrant two which is an automatic ejection. Colson caught the face of St.Francis freshmen guard Jalen Jordon with a stray elbow, which the team of ACC officials deemed intentional.
Brey was not ejected directly after the Colson incident but after a string questionable decisions from the referees that eventually set off the self-proclaimed, “Coolest Coach in America.” Brey’s frustration continued to mount when after the Colson ejection, the veteran officiating crew could not seem to figure out where the inbound pass should be after two free throws were made.
Then, Brey truly lost it after speaking to head referee James Breeding who agreed with him that there should have been a foul called for a tug on Colson before he lost his head and got ejected. Brey was then sent to the locker room to join his senior leader, where the two watched the remaining 6:02 of the game together from the screen of Colson’s cellphone.
“That’s new territory for me,” Brey said. “That was very unusual.” Brey had never previously been ejected during his esteemed career at Notre Dame, which currently has him sitting five wins away from holding the title of the all-time winningest coach in Notre Dame men’s basketball history.
Assistant head coach Rod Balanis took over in Brey’s absence.
Even before losing its head coach and best player, the Irish were unusually abysmal from the field in the second half, shooting 27.6 percent (8/29) and 14.3 percent (1/7) from 3. Worth noting was Matt Farrell‘s especially awful day from 3-point-land, as his streak of 31 straight games straight with a made 3 point basket was snapped.
However, a positive sight for Irish fans this season has been the presence of senior Martinas Geben. The Lithuanian has been rock solid for Notre Dame this year, and the same can be said for his performance Sunday afternoon. Geben set career-highs in points (14), rebounds (10), and also set a season-high in minutes (27). Geben’s effort notched him his first double-double of his career.
“All the hard work, all the prayers, everything’s paying off,” Geben said. “My teammates and my coaches are trusting me. If I can play well and the team wins, that’s going to make me happy. It’s going to make everybody happy.”
No.5 Notre Dame faces off against the Cardinals of Ball State University in their next game Tuesday night at Purcell Pavilion. Tip-off is set for 7:00 pm.