Jackson, Auguste lead Irish to victory over Stony Brook
Brian Plamondon | Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Led by the duo of Demetrius Jackson and Zach Auguste, Notre Dame rolled Tuesday night over Stony Brook, 86-61, at Purcell Pavilion.
Notre Dame (6-2) opened the game shooting 6-of-8 from the floor, using a 7-0 run to build a 13-4 lead.
“What a great night for us, and what a great last week for this team as we’re trying to figure ourselves out,” Irish head coach Mike Brey said. “To win in Champaign at Illinois, and to come back and methodically beat a good team — a team I think is going to be a championship team in their league and possibly an NCAA tournament team.”
While Stony Brook (4-3) closed the gap to four points later in the half, the outcome never appeared in doubt with Seawolves’ top player, senior forward Jameel Warney, lacking a presence, particularly in the first half. Warney (who averaged 18.2 points and 13.2 rebounds per game entering Tuesday’s action) shot only 1-of-6 in the first half before finishing with 16 points and eight rebounds on the night.
Brey said he was especially proud of senior forward Zach Auguste’s handling of Warney in the post.
“I thought he was really looking forward to the matchup the last two days,” Brey said. “It was kind of neat because there’s a buzz around this kid, and Zach’s like, ‘Wait a minute, I’ve played against some pretty good big guys.’”
“ … He prepared for it like here comes [Jahlil] Okafor. Here comes a big dude from Kentucky. Here comes Carolina’s front line — all five of them — and bring them on, let’s compete against all of them.”
Auguste, who finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds, was particularly strong in the second half, where he showcased his extended skill set with a pull-up shot from 12 feet, a block and then a massive dunk that put the Irish up 64-46 with nine minutes to play.
That dunk was part of a 25-4 run for the Irish in the middle of the second half that opened a 71-46 lead. The Irish defense forced the Seawolves to shoot just 2-of-14 from the field during the pivotal run.
“Our guys are learning to play together,” Brey said. “I like how they played defensively tonight. We improved defensively man-to-man wise. Now we did a heck of a job in zone. And tonight, for about seven possessions, zone gave us good stuff, because I think they missed six of seven shots when we were in it.”
While Auguste had team highs in points and rebounds, four other players hit double digits. Junior guard Demetrius Jackson dropped 19 points while dishing out 10 assists and junior forward V.J. Beachem scored 14 points while sophomore forward Bonzie Colson and junior guard Steve Vasturia each finished with 10. Jackson in particular impressed Brey as someone who is translating his strong play into more of a leadership role, the coach said.
“Demetrius Jackson looks like he’s running the building like Jerian Grant used to run the building,” Brey said.
Brey also stressed how in order to lead effectively, Jackson must see extended time on the floor every game, like the 36 minutes he logged Tuesday.
“When I ask him to run the building, you’ve got to be on the floor to run the building,” Brey said. “No breaks, I need you out there.”
With the game in hand, Brey was able to make use of his bench. He confirmed after the game that his first three off the bench moving forward will be junior forward Austin Torres, sophomore guard Matt Farrell and freshman forward Matt Ryan.
“We want to keep developing those three guys,” Brey said. “Right now, those three guys are the guys, but it’s a long haul.”
Notre Dame now has a chance to pick up one more win this weekend before taking next week off for finals.
“We’d like to win three in a row and then go to exams,” Brey said.
The Irish next welcome Loyola Chicago to town, taking on the Ramblers at Purcell Pavilion on Sunday at 2 p.m.