Notre Dame maintained a lead of only 22 seconds in his entire 40-minute fight against the No. 6 Wichita State Shockers on Wednesday in the Maui Invitational final, but that was all he needed to secure a victory and complete one of the most unlikely returns of the first season.
The Irish lost up to 16 points for the Shockers in the second half after an opening frame that was putrid across the board, but they regained their way back and stayed at an attack distance for the last 20 minutes. They cut the lead to one point several times in the final minutes, and losing by one with two seconds remaining, Martinas Geben scored two free throws that gave Notre Dame a 67-66 win.
"I think it's a great confidence builder when you can win a season tournament," said Brey. "We won the Legends Clbadic last year, but this is the main tournament, to win the Maui Clbadic, this is the tournament, everyone looks at this, and I bet a lot of people were watching with badtails on their hands east tonight. He is a great confidence builder. "
Bonzie Colson dropped 25 points and added 11 rebounds to lead Mike Brey's team effort. His running mate Matt Farrell, who helped close the gap with a steal and critical plate with 14 seconds left, finished with 15 points and four badists.
For Wichita State, Zach Brown had 14 points, while Conner Frankamp splintered with 12. But Shaq Morris's early fouling problems, who played only eight minutes, plagued Wichita State. And without the more dominant interior presence of the Shockers, Colson was free to get what he wanted, inside and out.
Even so, the game was decided by only three seconds.
"I thought it was a great college basketball game," said Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall. "Obviously, I wish I had finished three seconds earlier, I think our guys fought against a very, very good team with great players and a wonderful coach, I have great respect for Notre Dame, but I love the guys in my wardrobe. Those guys in my wardrobe, and we're going to win our share of these, unfortunately, you know, this one, just a play, we just needed one more play, one more stop, one more basket, and it could point to a lot of different things. reduced to just one play and three seconds. "
In total, this was a fantastic game that went right to the end and there are positive conclusions in every way. The good news for Notre Dame: this victory will look fantastic in your eventual resume of the NCAA tournament. And the good news for Wichita State: it hung with a Top 25 team without Markis McDuffie, an impact player who stays out because of a foot injury.
Wichita State will also have numerous opportunities in the game outside of the conference to boost its overall postseason curriculum, too. In the next few weeks, he will face the enemies of Power 5 Baylor, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and UConn before he takes the lead in his first participation in the American Athletic Conference as a member. It's safe to say that the long-term prospects this season, both for the Shockers and for the Irish, are tremendously high.