LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — Matt Farrell scored 27 points and Bonzie Colson added 23, helping No. 13 Notre Dame open the Maui Invitational with an 83-56 rout over Division II Chaminade on Monday night.
Notre Dame (4-0) was sharp from the start at the offensive end, building a nine-point halftime lead and gradually extending it in the second half by making 14 of 26 shots.
The Irish shot 54 percent and made 9 of 20 from 3-point range to earn a spot in Tuesday’s semifinals against the Michigan-LSU winner.
Chaminade (2-1) kept it close early with its perimeter shooting before wearing down against the bigger Irish.
Erik Scheive had 17 points to lead tournament host Chaminade, which made 7 of 29 from 3-point range and shot 35 percent overall.
The Silverswords have made a name for themselves by slashing down giants, starting with their 1982 home victory over giant Ralph Sampson and top-ranked Virginia. Chaminade has picked up more upsets through the years at the Maui Invitational, taking down powers like Texas, Oklahoma, Villanova and Stanford with their ability to work the ball around quickly and knock down long-range shots.
The Silverswords opened this season with victories over Alaska and Alaska Anchorage, but the Irish are like a five-headed monster of length, athleticism and shooters.
They also have Colson, a do-it-all, preseason All-America Irish coach Mike Brey complimented by saying he has no neck and is a beautiful basketball player in the same sentence.
Chaminade, as usually is the case in Maui, kept it close early with its shooting, hitting 4 of 8 from 3-pont range.
Once Notre Dame expanded its defensive net, the Silverswords were unable to move without an Irish in their face, leading to a scoreless drought of more than 5 minutes.
Notre Dame created its own room to shoot, zipping around or rising above the Silverswords while hitting 14 of 26 shots to lead 38-29 at halftime. It would have been bigger, but Chaminade’s Brett Reed hit a running 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Farrell had 16 by halftime and kept shooting, scoring five quick points to put the Irish up 46-34, well on their way to the rout.
Notre Dame played the way it needed to against a DII school, but will get a much bigger test in the semifinals.
Chaminade had some good moments before wearing down, but come away with another game of experience against a top-tier program, something that should help later in the season.
Notre Dame faces the Michigan-LSU winner in Tuesday’s semifinals
Chaminade plays the Michigan-LSU loser.