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'Big 3" help guide Notre Dame to season opening victory

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -

Led by junior Bonzie Colson and senior V.J. Beachem, the Irish opened the 2016-17 season at home on Saturday with a 89-64 win over Bryant in Purcell Pavilion. Notre Dame is now 17-0 in season-openers during the Mike Brey era, all coming at home.

Colson led the Irish with 23 points and nearly recorded a double-double, as the forward finished with a team-high nine rebounds. Beachem also poured in 22 points, matching his career high in scoring. The senior added five rebounds, three blocks and a steal to complete his afternoon.

The Irish jumped out to an early 13-4 lead to begin the game in just over six minute of play but Bryant answered by scoring 15 of the next 17 points to take a 19-15 lead with nine minutes to go in the first. Notre Dame immediately responded, as Beachem went on a 7-0 run of his own to put the Irish back on top at 22-19. 

Over the final 7:30 of play in the first Notre Dame extended its lead to double figures, as the team went into halftime with a 12-point advantage at 43-31. Colson and Beachem carried the Irish offense in the opening 20 minutes, as the duo combined for 27 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the floor.

Notre Dame pulled away in the second half, as the team outscored the Bulldogs 20-6 in a span of just over six minutes midway through the frame to open up a 22-point lead at 75-53. The Irish went on to win by a final score of 89-64.

Colson had an ultra-efficient game from an offensive perspective, as the New Bedford, Massachusetts native finished with a team-high 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field. The junior was a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe as well. The 23-point performance marked the third game of his career with 20 or more points. Colson also added a team-high nine rebounds, two blocks, an assist and a steal in the victory.

The Irish shot the ball extremely well from the foul line against Bryant, finishing 26-of-29 on the afternoon. Beachem and Colson provided half of the makes, combining to go 13-for-13 from the line.

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