Colson returns and Irish top Pittsburgh in emotional Senior Night
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Senior Nights are always emotional, but for Notre Dame men's basketball it was elevated on several levels Wednesday night.
In the home finale against Pittsburgh, the Irish celebrated a class which has meant so much to the program, and sent the seniors off with one final 73-56 victory.
Bonzie Colson returned from his foot injury, playing for the first time in two months. He tallied 12 points and nine rebounds in 21 minutes of action, and said afterwards there were no nerves or rust.
"It felt good putting that jersey on," he said. "It's been a while. It felt good just being in a routine and playing my game, especially playing with my brothers who've been with me throughout this process."
One of those teammates was fellow senior Matt Farrell. He not only capped his career by leading the Irish with 14 points, but picked up a win in honor of his grandfather who passed away earlier in the week.
"It's surreal," he said after the game. "It's a night I'll never forget, and it's been a crazy four years. I looked over at my family and they helped me not to break down. Like I said, it's a special night and I knew he was watching, so it's awesome."
Special Night. RIP Pop ✝️ pic.twitter.com/h9SrHGlgKa— Matt Farrell (@MattyFarr3) March 1, 2018
The ceremonial aspect of the night gave each of the five seniors a chance to be recognized, including Penn High School graduate Austin Torres, breakout big man Martinas Geben, and former walk-on Matt Gregory who took the floor late in the blowout win.
While there's a break, some photos from pregame. #NotreDame honors Martinas Geben with Lithuanian national anthem and flags in rafters/student section. He and family love it.— Matt Randall (@mattrandall_) March 1, 2018
Shameless plug on my Geben feature earlier this season: https://t.co/Bqu6qgAVQXpic.twitter.com/3S5fJyCMFd
A couple more: Bonzie Colson’s sister chosen to sing the Star-Spangled Banner. Colson hugs her afterwards, wiping away tears.— Matt Randall (@mattrandall_) March 1, 2018
Basically, #NotreDame is doing Senior Night right. pic.twitter.com/MXOehpUuV9
Geben finished with nine points and 13 rebounds. Torres added six points. Gregory did not score, but received a rousing ovation upon entering the game
If the celebrations weren't enough, the win also marked Mike Brey's 400th at Notre Dame, making him the 11th active coach to accomplish the feat.
The Irish are now 8-9 in conference play heading into the final game of the regular season. While the team searches for a signature win to boost its NCAA Tournament resume, that finale would certainly fit the bill as the Irish travel to play top-ranked Virginia on Saturday.
"We've got good mojo. I think people are a little scared of us now," Farrell said. "We got Bonzie back. We're flowing well and playing well, so we're just going to keep trying to do what we do."