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    Fighting Irish Hold Off Hard-Charging Hoosiers, 79-72

    FIGHTING IRISH Jerian Grant finished with 23 points and nine assists.
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Jerian Grant finished with 23 points and nine assists.
    FIGHTING IRISH

    Dec. 14, 2013

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    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Jerian Grant had 23 points and nine assists Saturday, and Pat Connaughton scored all 14 of his points in the second half to lead Notre Dame past Indiana 79-72 in the Crossroads Classic.

    The Fighting Irish (8-3) won for just the third time in five games, but never trailed the Hoosiers.

    Despite having most of the crowd clad in Indiana red, the Hoosiers (8-3) lost for the second straight year in Indianapolis. Will Sheehey tied his career high with 22 points, while Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell finished with 13.

    Notre Dame took a 13-point lead in the first half, forcing the Hoosiers to play catch-up the rest of the afternoon. They never quite did.

    Indiana tied the score twice early in the second half, and were within one or two points for most of the final 10 minutes. But the Irish pulled away in the final minute to seal it.

    It was an off-night for Indiana's usually staunch defense.

    After allowing 47 points in the first half, tied for the most it had allowed in any half this season, Indiana reverted to its more customary form in the second half and nearly pulled it out.

    Ferrell finally tied the score with a midrange jumper early in the second half, and Noah Vonleh tied it again at 49 with a dunk. But after the Irish missed their first four shots, Connaughton heated up and scored eight of his points during a 12-4 spurt that ended with Connaughton's 3-pointer with 12:36 to play. That made it 59-51.

    Indiana charged back with seven straight points to make it 59-58 with 9:55 to go, and but the Irish fended off every challenge the rest of the way.

    Connaughton's 3 with 4:57 left gave Notre Dame a little breathing room, 71-66, but the Irish couldn't close it out until outscoring Indiana 8-3 to over the last 82 seconds.

    Notre Dame was simply more physical.

    Thirteen minutes into the game, the Irish already had a 16-6 scoring edge in the paint and they were outrebounding the nation's No. 1 team, too. The combination allowed Notre Dame to take control by following an 8-3 run with a 9-3 spurt to make it 31-22 with 7:13 left in the first half.

    Indiana called time out, but it did nothing to stem the Irish surge. After the timeout, Notre Dame got back-to-back baskets from Zach Auguste and Grant to make it 35-22.

    The Hoosiers got back in sync late in the half. Austin Etherington started the charge with a three-point play and Sheehey knocked down a 3 with 2:12 to go, making it 42-36.

    Indiana closed the half on a 6-3 run to get within 47-42, but never mounted the kind of comeback it needed to take the lead.

    Notes:

    • Notre Dame and Indiana met for the 80th time today and the Hoosiers lead the all-time series 48-21.

    • The Irish and Hoosiers met for the second time in the Crossroads Classic.

    Indiana defeated Notre Dame 69-58 in the 2011 matchup.

    • This was Notre Dame's third win over Indiana in the last four meetings between the two schools.

    • It marked the 10th meeting between the two teams in Indianapolis.

    • Irish head coach Mike Brey is 3-4 all-time during his Notre Dame tenure.

    • Notre Dame is now 2-1 in the Crossroads Classic. Notre Dame defeated Purdue 81-68 in 2012.

    • Notre Dame never trailed in the contest.

    • The Irish improved to 1-1 against Big Ten teams this season and 233-208 all-time.

    Mike Brey is 7-11 all-time versus the Big Ten.

    • Mike Brey teams are 6-4 all-time playing in Indianapolis, including a 4-3 mark in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

    • Notre Dame extended its streak to 488 consecutive games with a three pointer.

    • Eric Atkins (Sr./G), Pat Connaughton (Jr./G), Jerian Grant (Sr./G), Demetrius Jackson (Fr./G) and Garrick Sherman (GS/C) started tonight's contest ... it marked the sixth straight game that quintet has started for the Fighting Irish ... the Irish are 4-2 in those contests.

    Garrick Sherman (Sr./C)

    • His 16-point performance extended his double-figure scoring streak to a career-high eight consecutive games.

    • His four blocks were a career high.

      Jerian Grant (Sr./G)

    • Finished with 23 points which marked his sixth 20-plus point effort of the season and 14th of his career.

    • Grant has scored in double figures in 10 of 11 contests.

    • Had the best day of his career from the free throw line as he connected on all 11 of this free-throw attempts. His 11 free throws matched a personal best.

    • Grant dished off nine-plus assists for the third time this season.

    Pat Connaughton (Jr./G-F)

    • After being held scoreless in the first half, Pat Connaughton scored all 14 of his points in the second half. Connected on 5-of-7 shots from the field and was 3-4 from three-point range.

    • Connaughton netted double figures for a career-best sixth consecutive game.

    • His game-high nine rebounds marked the fourth game this season with nine or more rebounds

     

     

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