Big night for Matt Farrell leads No. 13 Notre Dame in Maui Invitational opener

NDI Staff Report
ND Insider

LAHAINA, Hawaii – With the ball in his hands and plenty of open spaces on the basketball court beckoning, Notre Dame senior guard Matt Farrell looked like he could go wherever he wanted, whenever he wanted Monday against Chaminade.

Then he did.

Looking more like the shoot-first guard that his head coach has pushed him to be since summer, Farrell got his offensive game going early and often in the quarterfinal game of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center.

Farrell connected on nine of 12 shots and scored a career-high 27 points, including 16 in the first half, as No. 13 Notre Dame (4-0) advanced to Tuesday’s semifinals with an 83-56 victory over the Division II host school. Farrell came into the contest averaging a career-best 15.3 per game.

Farrell left for good with 4:07 remaining and the Irish up 27. Monday’s game ended at 10:53 p.m. South Bend time, 5:53 out in the Pacific.

Fellow senior captain Bonzie Colson continued to do what he normally does – get points and rebounds by bunches. Colson scored 23 points with eight rebounds. He also finished with a team-high plus/minus with a (+33).

"Matty and Bonzie set the tone for us," said Irish coach Mike Brey.

Winners of four in a row to open a season for the second-straight year and third in the last four, Notre Dame led by as many as 30 after having its nine-point lead cut to six early in the second half.

"We have a lot of confidence in each other," Farrell said. "We have fun playing with each other."

Playing in his fourth collegiate game, Irish freshman D.J. Harvey hit for double figures for a second-straight one. After a career-high 16 points last week against Chicago State, Harvey returned Monday with 12.

"I was very impressed with D.J. Harvey," said Irish coach Mike Brey. "He continues to give us great stuff off the bench."

Much of everything the Irish did, though, was set up by their senior captain. Farrell hit for eight points the first 4:29, then had 12 in the first 5:43. His season high of 18 came last week at home against Chicago State. Farrell flew by that number early in the second half. Five quick ones gave him 21 and pushed the Irish advantage back into double digits.

This is Notre Dame’s third appearance in the tournament, and first since 2008. It also was part of the 1993 field and carried a 3-3 all-time record into Monday’s game.

Notre Dame advanced to play LSU, which beat Michigan late Monday/early Tuesday morning in the last game of the first day of tournament play. Marquette and No. 6 Wichita State opened the top half of the bracket with wins. The Shockers erased an 18-point deficit to California before roaring back to win.

The Irish led by as many as 14 points in the first half. Allowing five unanswered points the final minute, Notre Dame took a nine-point lead into the locker room. That after holding Chaminade without a basket for over six minutes in one active defensive stretch.

"Our defense was excellent," Brey said. "This team has wanted to have a defensive identity. We really moved our feet and defended well."

Notre Dame made it look relative easy the first 20 minutes despite seeing two starters – T.J. Gibbs and Rex Pflueger combine for one point. Gibbs, who was averaging 17.7 coming in, was scoreless in the first half. The Silverswords led for all of 22 seconds.

Working the sideline in a T-shirt and shorts, Brey said on his pre-game radio show that Monday was “business as usual” in terms of his team’s preparation. The Irish might have been in Maui, but Brey insisted they might as well have been in Central New York getting ready to play in the Carrier Dome against Syracuse.

It would be, Brey said, like an Atlantic Coast Conference game with the size and physicality and experience that Chaminade offered. The Silverswords were good.

But the Irish were better.

Notre Dame guard Matt Farrell (5) tries to get past Chaminade guard Nicholas Anderson (3) during the first half of Monday's game in Lahaina, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

No. 13 NOTRE DAME 83, CHAMINADE 56

At Lahaina, Hawaii

Late Monday

NOTRE DAME (83): Colson 8-11 6-6 23, Geben 2-3 0-0 4, Farrell 9-12 5-7 27, Gibbs 2-7 2-4 7, Pflueger 1-7 1-2 4, Burns 0-1 1-2 1, Torres 1-1 0-0 2, Mooney 1-1 0-2 3, Gregory 0-1 0-0 0, Nelligan 0-1 0-0 0, Djogo 0-2 0-0 0, Harvey 4-5 3-3 12. Totals 28-52 18-26 83.

CHAMINADE (56): Scheive 7-12 1-2 17, Koelliker 3-8 0-0 7, Dressler 2-7 0-0 4, Walker 2-8 0-0 6, Pope 5-12 0-0 11, Reed 2-3 0-0 5, Donley 0-0 0-0 0, Pollard 0-2 0-2 0, Bridges 0-7 0-0 0, Anderson 2-7 0-0 4, Swain 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 24-68 1-4 56.

Halftime--Notre Dame 38-29. 3-Point Goals--Notre Dame 9-20 (Farrell 4-7, Colson 1-1, Mooney 1-1, Harvey 1-2, Gibbs 1-3, Pflueger 1-3, Gregory 0-1, Nelligan 0-1, Djogo 0-1), Chaminade University 7-29 (Scheive 2-4, Walker 2-7, Reed 1-1, Pope 1-3, Koelliker 1-4, Pollard 0-1, Dressler 0-2, Anderson 0-3, Bridges 0-4). Fouled Out--None. Rebounds--Notre Dame 33 (Colson 8), Chaminade University 35 (Reed, Pope 7). Assists--Notre Dame 15 (Farrell, Pflueger 4), Chaminade University 9 (Pope 4). Total Fouls--Notre Dame 12, Chaminade University 18.