Irish react to comeback win, play Stephen F. Austin in Second Round
A big win for the Fighting Irish in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center.
They were able to defeat the Michigan Wolverines despite 16 turnovers and a 12-point halftime deficit.
“It was an okay first half. We let them get a lead a little bit get away from us a little bit. Came in to half time coach emphasized what we needed to do – and we came out and executed," says Zach Auguste, a senior forward.
The Irish were flat in the first half with 10 turnovers and down 12 at the break.
"Coach really got in to us and questioned our toughness. Something he does to motivate us and we never want to back down from a challenge or play tough. So to respond the way we did in the second half was great for us,” says Junior forward V.J. Beachem.
Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey said it was a tense halftime.
"I started nice and calm and then I started to lose it a little bit. As far as I love ya, you are great guys – we have done everything we asked. But either you are going to be a little tougher or this is North Carolina game all over again. But everyone will pat you on the back because you are nice guys and you get good grades,” says Brey.
V.J. Beachem and Notre Dame responded.
Steve Vasturia added a quick 5 points and the bench and the crowd were back in it.
"We needed a jump start. You know that’s the way we’ve been playing all year. Guys getting on the floor. Getting every loose ball. Trying to play the way we’ve been playing and everyone was feeding off each other and you saw that in the second half,” says Vasturia, a Junior guard.
The Irish were hitting crucial shots down the stretch, with Beachem finishing with 18 points and Brooklyn native Matt Ferrell in the starting line-up for the very first time and stepping up in pressure situations in front of friends and family.
"It was awesome – it was an amazing feeling. Growing up with family and friends. Being here, being able to watch it – your family. My brother was able to watch and I don’t see him that often. That feeling of being born here, you know, it was just fun," says Ferrell.
And despite 16 total turnovers and 51 in the past three games, the Irish able to survive and advance and play upset minded 14-seed Stephen F. Austin, who knocked off West Virginia Friday night.
"All I know is west virginia turned it over 22 times and we’ve thrown the ball all over the gym the last three games, if we don’t take care of the ball we’re in trouble," says Brey.
So the Irish move on to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Their opponent, the Lumberjacks haven’t lost since December 29th of 2015.
Tip off will be Sunday at 2:30.