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Men’s Basketball: Grant hits 1,000th point in win

Sam Gans | Tuesday, December 3, 2013

 

Notre Dame topped the century mark for the first time in regulation since 2011, as the Irish dominated Cornell at Purcell Pavilion en route to a 101-67 win Sunday.

Freshman guard Demetrius Jackson scored 11 points to go along with four assists in his first career start for Notre Dame (5-1), and Irish senior guard Jerian Grant’s 20 points gave him 1,000 for his career. Grant became the 55th player in Irish history to reach 1,000 career points. He joined senior captain and guard Eric Atkins, who accomplished the feat in Notre Dame’s 83-70 loss to Indiana State on Nov. 17.

“It means a lot to me,” Grant said. “It’s a select group of guys, 50-something players out of all the players that have played at Notre Dame, and to be named with those 50-something players is exciting for me.”

Irish coach Mike Brey employed a smaller starting lineup than typical against the Big Red (0-9), utilizing Jackson, Grant, Atkins and junior captain and guard Pat Connaughton alongside senior center Garrick Sherman.

“I think we stay with what we have here,” Brey said about the lineup. “I think we’re going to keep playing this way. I feel we need to stay the course with this and ride this for a while and see what we get out of it.”

That will mean another start for Jackson, who previously came off the bench. Jackson’s 27 minutes of action was a career-high.

“It was definitely very cool to hear my name, finally,” Jackson said. “It’s one of my goals I’ve been working towards, and I’ve been really busting my butt to get there where I’m good enough to start.”

The Irish had a slow start against Cornell, opening 2-for-10 from the floor and falling behind 8-0 before taking a 41-32 lead into halftime. Notre Dame exploded in the second half, which included a 17-2 Irish run to push the Notre Dame lead to 81-56 with 6:26 remaining.

The 101 points is the most for the Irish since Notre Dame’s five-overtime 104-101 victory over Louisville last season and the most in a non-overtime game since a 106-65 win over Sacred Heart on Dec. 19, 2011. The Irish finished Sunday’s game with 28 assists and only five turnovers.

“With the new starting lineup we have, we can score a lot more points and have the fast break available a lot more,” Grant said. “Defensively, it helps us in being able to press full court a little bit and rebounding won’t be a problem.”

Up next for the Irish is a trip to No. 23 Iowa tonight. The game will be Notre Dame’s first road contest of the season and the squad’s inaugural appearance in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Iowa (7-1) is led by senior guard Roy Devyn Marble and junior forward Aaron White, who were named third team All-Big Ten last season by the coaches and media, respectively.

The Hawkeyes started the season 7-0 before they fell to Villanova 88-83 in overtime Saturday in the championship of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas. Iowa had a 25-13 record last season but was 18-2 at home.

“It’s going to take a lot [to beat the Hawkeyes],” Grant said. “Iowa is a great team, and we’ve been watching them the last few days, and we’ll be ready to play them. The guys are excited for a road challenge like this.”

The Irish and Hawkeyes tip off in Iowa City at 9:15 tonight.

Contact Sam Gans at sgans@nd.edu