The Notre Dame basketball team had 5 full days to stew on the embarrassing loss to Indiana State coming into a two game weekend against Santa Clara and Army and the team bounced back with two solid wins at home to get to 4-1 heading into December.
Santa Clara - last year's CBI Tournament Champions - came into Purcell Pavilion looking to bounce back from a loss of their own against Cal State Fullerton and seemed to do just that, jumping to a 5 point lead before the first media timeout.
But Good Jerian showed up again (Bad Jerian has yet to make an official appearance this season - though he did shoot a poor 4/14 and turn the ball over 4 times against the Sycamores) and led the Irish with 20 points and captain Eric Atkins chipped in with 16 of his own. The two starting guards also had 5 assists each.
After Tom Knight was pulled early for the second straight game, Garrick Sherman stepped up as the primary big man tallying 16 points and 8 rebounds and sophomore Austin Burgett came off the bench to grab 10 rebounds and provide solid energy throughout his 22 minutes.
The most welcome performance of the night came from freshman Demetrius Jackson who came off the bench to give 13 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists as Brey went small (and young!) over the last 10 minutes with a line up of Burgett-Connaughton-Grant-Jackson-Atkins over the last 10 minutes of the game to pull away as they kept a double digit lead over that span to secure a 84-69 win. The team shot 23 for 27 from the charity stripe which played a key part in the bounce back win.
Less than 48 hours later, the team tipped off against Army and earned a 93-60 victory behind Garrick Sherman's early second half run. Sherman and Grant each shipped in 19 points as three other roundballers - Zach Auguste (14), Eric Atkins (13) and Demetrius Jackson (11) - chipped in double digits as well.
The Black Knights hung in there until the latter part of the second half as Brey said he was "disappointed" with the first half performance. The Irish came out with a full court man to man to start the second half and it worked as it led to turnovers - the Cadets turned the ball over 20 times - and easy buckets on the other end. This was largely the backcourt's doing as Grantkins combined for 10 steals and 13 assists.
The Irish have another week off before facing Cornell at home next Sunday.
Some quick hits:
- Jerian Grant was very impressive this weekend. He was focused on both ends jumping passing lanes, finding all the right cutters and taking high percentage shots
- For all the grief Garrick Sherman gets from us roundball bloggers and the commentariat, he does have a nice touch around the basket and some nice post moves- he really needed to have a good weekend and he did just that
- Speaking of post moves, Zach Auguste showed a few really impressive ones en roue to a 7 for 9 shooting game against Army
- Mike Brey played 10 players in the first half against Army - partially because of Burgett's early foul trouble - but that was a good sign especially considering the game was still within single digits at the time
- Demetrius Jackson also chipped in 4 rebounds and 4 assists along with his 11 points in his 24 minutes. he also made two 3 point shots in each game. Yes, that is exciting
- Pat Connaughton continues to do the dirty work - blocking shots, grabbing rebounds, making the extra pass and hitting the occasional 3. Advance metric guys in basketball the basketball blogosphere loves 3 and D guys and the junior captain from Massachusetts fulfills that role very well