Notre Dame rallies past Wichita State in Maui final
Notre Dame arrived at the Maui Invitational with a goal of putting its name up on the wall commemorating past champions.
Martinas Geben made two free throws with 2.3 seconds to play, capping a second-half comeback and lifting No. 13 Notre Dame to a thrilling 67-66 win over No. 6 Wichita State on Wednesday in the championship game of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational at Lahaina (Hawaii) Civic Center.
Notre Dame (6-0) trailed by as many as 16 points but found its shooting touch in the second half to get back in the game. The Fighting Irish led for only 22 seconds and took their first lead since early in the game on Geben’s free throws.
Bonzie Colson had 25 points and 11 rebounds, and Matt Farrell added 15 points and came up with a huge steal for the Irish in the final minute.
Landry Shamet gave the Shockers a 66-63 lead with a pull-up jumper in the lane with 34 seconds to play. Colson missed a 3-pointer on Notre Dame’s ensuing possession, giving the ball back to Wichita State (4-1).
Farrell stole the inbounds pass and found Colson for a layup that cut the Shockers’ lead to one with 14 seconds left.
“I saw him cutting and I just read it, tried to come from the back side and just tip it,” Farrell said of his clutch steal. “Bonzie was right there, and it just worked out. You just never give up, and you’ve got to play hard until the horn sounds.”
Wichita State’s Austin Reaves missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving Notre Dame one last possession. After a tie-up, the Irish got the ball to Geben at the rim off an inbounds play. Geben drew the foul and connected on the winning free throws, his only two foul shots of the game.
“Just needed one more play,” Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said. “We needed a free throw or not turn it over against the press, or not get slipped to the basket on the last play.
“There’s a lot of plays that you could point to, but every single play in that game mattered. We need to come up with the rebound at the end without the tie-up.
“I’m proud of our guys. That was a great team that we played. Well-coached, and they’re trying to win, too, so it was a high, high level college basketball game.”
Zach Brown led Wichita State with 14 points. Conner Frankamp added 12 points, and Shamet finished with 10 points and seven rebounds for the Shockers, who took their first loss of the season in their only game that was decided by single digits.
“I don’t think losing to that caliber of a basketball team is going to hurt us,” Marshall said.
Notre Dame scored 92 points in a blowout win over LSU on Tuesday but was held to 23 points in the first half against Wichita State. Frankamp had 12 points in the first half for the Shockers, who took a 37-23 lead into halftime.
“For us to make a bunch of plays in the last 20 seconds to steal a win, you know, I can’t say I’m surprised, because it’s a group that’s won a lot together,” said Notre Dame coach Mike Brey, who coached in a shorts and a T-shirt during the tournament. “We said we wanted to have our name up on this wall. We felt our program was one of those programs now that deserved to be on the wall on the Maui wall here.
“I’m thrilled that it will be there, and we’ll be back in four years ... to check it out when it’s up on the wall. Maybe there will be a picture of me with a T-shirt on up there.”
NOTES: Notre Dame G Matt Farrell was selected the tournament MVP. ... Wichita State G Conner Frankamp knocked down a 3-pointer early in the first half to extend his streak to 27 games with at least one trey. ... Notre Dame travels to No. 4 Michigan State on Nov. 30. ... Wichita State returns home to host Savannah State on Nov. 28 before traveling to No. 22 Baylor on Dec. 2. ... The 2018 Maul Invitational will feature Arizona, Auburn, Duke, Gonzaga, Illinois, Iowa State, San Diego State and Xavier.