Notre Dame basketball looking to rally without their leaders

(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

When Notre Dame basketball learned they would have to play without Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell, things looked grim.

The National Player of the Year candidate and the other top scorer for the Notre Dame basketball team went down and so did the hope of the Irish faithful. Bonzie Colson will be out until the end of the regular season if he even returns. Matt Farrell will miss Wednesday’s game at Georgia Tech and has been considered a long shot to play in Saturday’s game vs. North Carolina.

Via WNDU, Head coach Mike Brey shared news of Farrell’s sprain Monday, and it’s not what anyone wanted to hear.

"“It was a normal one but it kind of went both ways. You know sometimes it goes out. This one went out and in. So he got both sides but his swelling was way down. He’s rehabbing 2-3 times a day. We just can’t count on him this week.”"

Even without the likes of Colson and Farrell, the Irish have raced out to a 3-0 start in the ACC. Which is huge when you take into account that there are only three undefeated ACC teams already.

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While plenty of Irish players stepped up to earn this 3-0 start, none have done as much as sophomore guard Temple Gibbs. Gibbs was named the ACC men’s basketball Player of the Week on Monday for his accomplishments in the last two games.

In the 88-58 rout of NC State, Gibbs led the team with 22 points and added seven rebounds with five assists. Gibbs continued to step up in the win over Syracuse leading the team with 18 points and four rebounds.

While Gibbs has become the new go-to-man, Rex Pflueger has become the new team captain. The absence of Colson is more than just points and boards; he was a voice on the court. This now becomes the juniors’ duty. He’s already stepped up in a big way. Pflueger hit the game-winner in the final seconds at Syracuse off a missed shot by Gibbs.

Every Irish player has seemed to step up in their own way. Martinas Geben had 13 and 14 rebounds respectively in the last two games. Rebounding, of course, has been something the Irish have struggled with this season and losing Colson made this a nightmare scenario. Yet, the Irish pulled down 38 rebounds at Syracuse.

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While the Irish have stepped up, Wednesday’s game at Georgia Tech seems vital to come away with a win. A 4-0 ACC start is what Brey’s squad needs with North Carolina waiting for the Irish Saturday and Farrell considered a long shot to play. The Irish are currently sitting at 13-3 and riding a five-game winning streak.