Associated Press photos Notre Dame's Bonzie Colson shoots over Mount St. Mary's Bobby Planutis during the second half Monday. Colson scored 27 points to lead the Irish.
Notre Dame’s Rex Pflueger grabs a rebound next to teammates Elijah Burns, Martinas Geben and Mount St. Mary’s Ryan Gomes during the first half.
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 1:00 am
Notre Dame 88, Mount St. Mary's 62
Double-double night as Irish get 2 in win
ANTHONY ANDERSON | Associated Press
SOUTH BEND – Bonzie Colson's tough enough against double-teaming defenses, but Mount St. Mary's typically opted to counter the Notre Dame preseason All-American with single coverage Monday night.
That didn't work so well either.
Colson recorded his 25th career double-double with 27 points and 11 rebounds, and junior teammate Rex Pflueger added his first with 13 points and 10 boards, as the No. 13-ranked Irish rolled to an 88-62 victory.
“If they're going to play Bonzie with one guy, we're gonna keep throwing it in there,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “He just kept making (good) decisions with it.”
Efficient throughout, Colson went 11 of 15 from the field and 4 of 4 from the line. The 6-foot-5 senior also recorded three blocked shots and three steals.
Pflueger added five assists to his versatile line, while point guard Matt Farrell had 12 points and five assists.
The Irish (2-0) improved to 18-0 in home debuts under Brey despite a sometimes choppy first half that yielded a 40-32 lead at the break.
“They are too hard on themselves sometimes,” Brey said of his players. “As you can see, there's frustration. I'm trying to get them to move on to the next play, not worry about a missed shot or a mistake, and that's an area we need to grow, especially before we go to Maui and that atmosphere.”
Notre Dame blitzed the Mountaineers (0-2) to begin the second half with a 14-0 run that gave them permanent control.
“I loved some of the transition decisions we got early in the second half off our defense,” Brey said after his team outscored Mount St. Mary's 10-0 on the fast break for the night. “We've talked about this is a group that's going to get more steals and more deflections, so that means we're going to be out there with (number advantages).”
Junior Robinson, the Mount's 5-foot-5 senior guard, led the visitors with 14 points but had just two in the second half.
Freshman Bobby Planutis added 11 points and seven rebounds.
Mount St. Mary's led 23-20 with 6:23 to go in the first half, before Notre Dame went on an 11-0 run ignited by Colson's offensive-rebound slam at the 5:56 mark.
Plueger added back-to-back steals for baskets as part of that spurt, and Notre Dame never relinquished the lead.
Notre Dame ruled inside, and it wasn't just Colson. The Irish finished with a 44-18 advantage in paint points.
They also had 11 second-chance points and closed with a 39-29 rebounding edge overall.
“We thought we could beat them up inside and throw it in there,” Brey said.
The Irish led the country in free-throw percentage last season at 80 percent, and Brey figures it's possible to lead again, even with the departures of Steve Vasturia (91.0) and VJ Beachem (83.6).
Notre Dame didn't disappoint him Monday, going 18 of 19 at the stripe.
“I think we can be right there leading the nation again from there,” Brey said.