SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — With Notre Dame out of the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time this season, senior All-American Bonzie Colson came up with the perfect solution — his 30th career double-double that included a career-high 37 points in a 97-87 victory over Dartmouth on Tuesday night.
“I just wanted to play my game and shoot the ball with confidence,” the 6-foot-6 Colson said after hitting 15 of 21 shots, including 3 of 5 3-pointers, while pulling down 11 rebounds and adding three steals and two blocks.
“It was a bounce-back game so I wanted to bring everything we had.”
Notre Dame (9-3) had lost three of its last five games, including an 80-77 overtime defeat to Indiana last Saturday that sent the Irish, No. 5 four weeks ago, out of the AP Top 25.
“We’ve had some big punches and our guts taken out,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said.
Senior guard Matt Farrell added 22 points for Notre Dame on 8-of-13 shooting that included 4-of-6 3-pointers. Fellow starters Martinas Geben and Rex Pflueger had 13 each for Notre Dame, which had just three points off its bench to 32 by Dartmouth, which ended up hitting 15 of 32 3-pointers (46.9 percent).
“When a team hits 15 3s you lose,” Brey added. “Luckily, we scored enough to escape. Bonzie and Matt were fabulous making sure we wouldn’t lose.”
Dartmouth (3-6) kept things close in the first half that featured six ties and seven lead changes before an 11-0 Irish run in 1:51 late gave Notre Dame a 46-39 halftime lead. The Irish pulled ahead by 16 (66-50) with 12:15 left, but the Big Green closed to three (82-79) on a dunk by Adrease Jackson with 4:36 to play.
But Colson responded with a 3-pointer and then followed up a steal with a slam dunk for an 87-79 lead at the four-minute mark.
“Anytime you are down 16 points on the road and you cut it back to 3, you can hang your hat on that,” Dartmouth coach David McLaughlin said. “Colson is a preseason All-American for a reason.”
Senior Miles Wright hit 5 3-pointers to lead Dartmouth with 15 points, while freshman Aaryn Rai hit four while scoring 14 points that were matched by freshman Chris Knight. Will Emery had 12 points and Brendan Barry 10 for the Big Green.
Dartmouth: With a roster that includes five freshmen and five sophomores, the Big Green were picked to finish seventh in the eight-team Ivy League. The game with Notre Dame finished a 1-4 stretch away from home.
Notre Dame: After reaching No. 5 after winning the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, the Irish had lost three of their last five.
Dartmouth’s reserves outscored the Irish, 32-3. Knight, who had 14 points, hit seven of nine shots for the Big Green and sophomore Ian Sistare had nine with a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. Notre Dame freshman D.J. Harvey scored three points off the bench as four reserves played a total of 26 minutes. Pflueger and Farrell each played 39 minutes and Colson and T.J. Gibbs logged 37 apiece.
Notre Dame hit nine of its first 12 shots in the second half and settled for 18 of 30 (60 percent) for the final 20 minutes and 57.6 percent (34 of 59) for the game. In addition to its hot performance from 3-point range, Dartmouth finished at 50.8 percent (32 of 63) from the floor.
Dartmouth: Big Green return home to face Bryant Friday afternoon.
Notre Dame: Irish host Southeastern Louisiana Thursday night.
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