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Men’s Basketball: ND looks to win fourth straight

Andrew Owens | Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Irish return to action today against Delaware State after their blowout win over Sam Houston State on Wednesday.

Notre Dame (3-0) pulled away from Sam Houston State with a 23-0 run in the first half Wednesday, and the Bearkats never threatened again in the 74-41 Irish victory.

Freshman guard-forward Pat Connaughton paced the Irish with 24 points in 33 minutes and is playing a large role for Notre Dame much sooner than many expected.

“Pat really built on [his performance against Detroit] and he’s getting very comfortable being a key guy for us,” Irish coach Mike Brey said. “He’s going to play whether he’s starting or coming off the bench. Certainly you saw by the minutes the other night and how he got going that he’s going to be a key guy for us.”

Sophomore point guard Eric Atkins missed Wednesday’s victory due to an illness, and Brey said after the game his status is unknown for Friday. Junior forward Joey Brooks, who has also been under the weather, left the game but should not miss any additional time.

“Joey was in the health center,” Brey said. “He didn’t come to shoot around and then he got out of the health center and got dinged in the head and was a little dizzy, so we expect him to practice.”

Irish sophomore guard Jerian Grant scored 17 points and recorded six assists in the win over Sam Houston State. He is averaging 13 points per game in Notre Dame’s first three contests.

“I’m really just getting my legs under me, starting to play basketball the way I always did,” Grant said. “I love to pass the ball. I feel like … Whatever I have to do for my team to get the win, I can do it.”

Notre Dame will take the court without senior forward Tim Abromaitis against Delaware State in the fourth and final game of his suspension.

Hornets freshman guard Tahj Tate is averaging 18.5 points and nine assists per game to lead Delaware State (1-1). The Hornets lost 70-52 to Georgia Tech on Monday.

The Irish and Hornets will tip-off at 9 p.m. on Friday at the Purcell Pavilion.