Game Notes: Notre Dame wins first-ever conference championship
Mike Monaco | Saturday, March 14, 2015
No. 11 Notre Dame topped No. 19 North Carolina, 90-82, in the ACC tournament final Saturday night in Greensboro, North Carolina, to win its first-ever conference tournament.
Notre Dame defeated Duke on Friday before besting the Tar Heels, becoming just the third team to win the ACC tournament championship in North Carolina by downing those two powers. Maryland (1958) and Georgia Tech (1993) accomplished the feat previously.
Playing in its first-ever conference tournament championship game, Notre Dame clinched the league title. The Irish lost in six Big East semifinal appearances during their 18-year stint in the conference.
Five Irish players scored in double figures for the 11th time this season. Senior guard Jerian Grant (24 points), senior guard/forward Pat Connaughton (20), junior forward Zach Auguste (16), sophomore guard Steve Vasturia (14) and sophomore guard Demetrius Jackson (11) all hit double digits.
Grant, who also added 10 assists, earned the ACC’s tournament MVP award. Connaughton and Vasturia joined Grant on the All-Tournament first team with North Carolina junior guard Marcus Paige and Tar Heels junior forward Brice Johnson.
Notre Dame became the third team in the last 20 years to beat both Duke and North Carolina twice in a season. Florida State accomplished the feat in the 2011-12 campaign, and Georgia Tech grabbed four such wins in 1995-96.
Auguste also tallied a career-high 13 rebounds.
Notre Dame’s men’s and women’s basketball programs both won their respective ACC tournament titles, marking the 13th time that won school has clinched both crowns in the same year. Duke was the last school to do so in 2011.