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Men’s Basketball

Irish pick up win on Senior Night over Boston College

| Thursday, March 2, 2017

No. 19 Notre Dame would not be denied in honoring its senior captains V.J. Beachem and Steve Vasturia with style. The Irish (23-7, 12-5 ACC) picked up their sixth win in a row after defeating Boston College for the second time this season, 82-66.

Both seniors were instrumental in Notre Dame’s victory scoring a combined 32 points. It wasn’t until late in the first half, however, that the Irish even possessed their first lead of the game.

Irish senior forward V.J. Beachem lines up a shot during Notre Dame's 82-66 victory over Boston College on Senior Night. Beachem tallied 22 points in the game.Kathryne Robinson | The Observer

Irish senior forward V.J. Beachem lines up a shot during Notre Dame’s 82-66 victory over Boston College on Senior Night. Beachem tallied 22 points in the game.

The Eagles (9-21, 2-15) came out swinging in the first half led by freshman guard Ky Bownman and sophomore guard Jerome Robinson, who scored six and nine points respectively in the first 13 minutes of the game. At that point, the Eagles led by seven points, but that was as good as it was going to get for them for the rest of the night.

The Irish offense erupted for a 17-2 run to close out the half, which gave them an eight-point cushion to start the second half. Beachem scored 10 of the 17 points in the seven-minute span. The senior captain started the run with an emphatic dunk, which caused a deafening cheer from the crowd that flipped the momentum of the game. The honorary seniors stole the show from that point on.

Vasturia converted a baseline reverse layup a few possessions later to cut the deficit to one point. A minute later, Beachem connected on a 3-pointer that gave the Irish their first lead of the game. Vasturia and Beachem exchanged 3-pointers on the next two Irish scores before Boston College managed to end the 15-0 run.

Junior forward Bonzie Colson, who had a quiet first half, joined in on the offensive output scoring 12 of his 18 points in the second half. Despite Boston College’s efforts to climb back into the game, Notre Dame put the dagger on any chances of a comeback when Vasturia buried a 3-pointer from the corner with four and a half minutes left to play to push the lead to 20 points.

Junior guard Matt Farrell added 14 points along with three assists to give the Irish four players in double figures. Graduate student forward walk-on Patrick Mazza also contributed two points at the end of the game as he celebrated his final game at Purcell Pavilion.

“You couldn’t have scripted it any better,” Irish head coach Mike Brey said. “Two seniors having fun, you can take them out of the game to a standing ovation with a minute and a half left. You play well, and you know Pat Mazza — is he on Chad Ford’s draft board yet? No, but our crowd was great, our students were great and certainly a great way to finish the season in front of our home crowd.”

The win puts the Irish in second place in the ACC standings with just one game left on the road against No. 8 Louisville. Despite the victory on senior night, the Irish recognize the importance of their matchup against the Cardinals, which could potentially launch them into a share of the regular season ACC championship after owning a 6-5 ACC record a few weeks ago.

“It’s a great feeling to be rolling like this heading into March,” Beachem said. “A great opportunity in front of us Saturday, and we just want to do our job and let it play out. … It’s been really two major ups and one major down as far as conference play, but to be where we are, we’re in a great position with something to play for in the last weekend of the regular season. I think that’s something you wish for as a program, and we just want to make the most of it.”

In addition to the eventful senior night, the most noticeable difference of Notre Dame’s play tonight was the incorporation of junior forward Martinas Geben, who didn’t play a single minute in the last two games. On Wednesday night, Geben played 10 minutes while adding six points, which was the most he’s contributed since playing Syracuse on Jan. 21 where he scored seven.

Heading into the postseason, Brey said that he wants to make sure that everyone is prepared to contribute to the task of making another deep run in both the ACC and NCAA tournaments.

“The biggest thing was getting Martin Geben back in a flow,” Brey said. “I just think we’re going to need him — we’re going to need more hands on deck come the postseason.”

Notre Dame will travel to face off against Louisville on Saturday at 2 p.m.

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About Manuel De Jesus

Manuel De Jesus is a junior from Chicago, Illinois. He is an American Studies major with a minor in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. He is currently covering ND Volleyball, Men's Soccer and Men's Basketball.

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