The Iowa Hawkeyes hosted the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on the opening night of the ACC-B1G Challenge, and both teams put on an absolute show offensively.
Iowa blitzed the Irish for 52 in the first half, leaving the visitors trailing by 9 at the half. Notre Dame was only in the game because of 18 first half points from senior Garrick Sherman. He finished with a career-high 29.
But the Irish came charging back after halftime, taking the lead not even five minutes in on an Eric Atkins layup. Notre Dame looked like they might take control, but Roy Devyn Marble scored 13 straight Hawkeye points to hold off the Irish momentum.
The final ten minutes of the game were furiously back-and-forth with each team delivering punch after punch and neither relenting.
Unfortunately, even though they were always within striking distance, the Irish just couldn't get over the hump and take control of this one. Iowa was able to take a six point lead with just under two minutes left, leaving them to play the free throw game until finally icing the victory on their home court.
The Hawkeyes were led by Aaron White, who scored 20, but maintained a very balanced attack throughout with nine players scoring including five in double-digits.
Though Sherman led the way, Eric Atkins (23 pts, 4-5 3pt) and Jerian Grant (13 pts, 10 assists) also turned in good efforts offensively. Demetrius Jackson earned his second straight start, scoring 9 points of his own on 3 of 4 shooting in an impressive road debut for the freshman.
It's hard not to feel this one might have been different had it been played at the Purcell Pavilion, but tough road games likes this will benefit this team massively come ACC and tournament season. It would have been huge had the Irish found a way to pull this one out against a team ranked 10th early on in Ken Pomeroy's rankings in their own house, but there is no shame in this performance at all. It was a great game in a tough road environment, and Notre Dame certainly looked a lot more like we expected them to before the season.
Notre Dame's next game will feature Mike Brey hosting his old team, the Delaware Blue Hens, on Saturday at 4pm in the Purcell Pavilion.