Barclays Center on Legends Classic championship night, as seen from exterior. (Photo by Ray Floriani/Daly Dose Of Hoops)
By Ray Floriani (@rfloriani)
BROOKLYN, NY - Not saying it will happen any time soon, but if there is another vacancy for the Brooklyn Nets coaching position, Mike Brey may be a candidate.
In all seriousness, Brey is entrenched at Notre Dame, yet one must marvel at how the Fighting Irish have been so successful at Barclays Center, often in a magical way.
It happened again Tuesday. After building, then losing a lead, the Irish pulled out a thrilling 70-66 victory over Northwestern. The win gave Notre Dame, now 5-0, the Legends Classic championship. Northwestern fell to 3-2.
The numbers of note:
Offensive efficiency: ND 115, Northwestern 108
eFG%: ND 49, Northwestern 55
Free Throw Rate: ND 45, Northwestern 15
Offensive Rebound%: ND 26, Northwestern 40
Turnover Rate: ND 10, Northwestern 26
Leading scorers and EF:
ND- Steve Vasturia 18 points (EF 30), Matt Farrell 18 points (EF 27)
Northwestern - Scottie Lindsey 18 points, EF 24
What Notre Dame did well: Besides getting to the line and showing an extremely proficient care of the ball, the Irish made the plays in the final seconds to pull it out.
What Northwestern did well: Hit the offensive glass and show the resolve to battle back from a twelve point second-half deficit.
Northwestern won the offensive rebounding percentage and enjoyed a 37-27 overall edge on the glass. Individually, it was a different situation as Bonzie Colson of Notre Dame had a game-high 11 boards.
Bryant McIntosh, a solid scorer for the Wildcats, struggled with a seven-point outing on 3-of-18 shooting. McIntosh’s floater in the lane with seconds left looked like it might be the winner. That was until Matt Farrell of Notre Dame took over. Scottie Lindsey of Northwestern compensated for McIntosh’s off night. Lindsey’s 18 points were highlighted by 3-of-3 shooting from beyond the arc. Six turnovers and a sterling 10 percent turnover rate added up to another strong performance from Notre Dame in that category.
Depth is always a plus. Northwestern enjoyed a 19-8 bench scoring advantage.
MVP- Matt Farrell, Notre Dame
Derrick White (Colorado)
Vic Law (Northwestern)
Scottie Lindsey (Notrhwestern)
Steve Vasturia (Notre Dame)
Notre Dame defense: Charting the first four minutes of each half while taking a close look at the Irish on the defensive end, the first half saw Northwestern’s five possessions earn three field goals. Offensive rebounds on two occasions kept the possession alive. Six points, five possessions for an efficiency of 120. A bit on the generous side.
Second half: Northwestern had six possessions with four scores, helped again by two
offensive boards. One of those scores, a three-pointer, brought the total to nine points for a 150 efficiency from the Wildcats.
Despite those slow defensive starts, Notre Dame was aided by their own offense the first four minutes of each half. They led 8-6 at the 16-minute mark. The second half saw the Irish extend a 40-34 halftime lead to a 50-43 margin with 16 minutes left.
“We made a run to go up six points. Notre Dame responded, but in the stretch, I felt we were right there.” - Vic Law, Northwestern
“Win or lose, you learn. We have to learn from this, as tough as it is. Down the stretch, there were a few things we did not do.” - Scottie Lindsey, Northwestern
“I admire what Notre Dame did and the program they are, one we are trying to build in a similar way. We were down 12 early in the second half. A lot of teams could have folded, but we refused to roll over. After we got up six, Notre Dame got layups off two straight possessions. That was huge. They have the experience and know how to make plays in the stretch. I made a mistake not calling a timeout to organize our team. Again, proud of the way we played, but came up one play short.” - Northwestern coach Chris Collins
“It’s fun to play here. It’s also a trip home. Last year, I had a different role. This year, it is more of my team. I want to be vocal, be aggressive and make plays.” - Matt Farrell of Notre Dame
“The nucleus of this group has experience in big games. Chris (Collins) is doing a fabulous job and they will be tough in the Big Ten. We beat a good Northwestern team tonight. We got off to another good start. That’s something we talked about after our exhibition game and we have been able to do each time out since then. Matt developed over the summer and has a fearlessness and edge about him. We are comfortable here. I don’t want to overanalyze, but I hope it lasts come March. Experience is so important. I tell aspiring coaches ‘get old and stay old’.” - Notre Dame coach Mike Brey