Goshen News, Goshen, IN

November 23, 2013

Notre Dame bounces back against Santa Clara 84-69


SOUTH BEND, Ind. — When Mike Brey went small Friday night, he looked to his bench.

Austin Burgett and Demetrius Jackson responded.

Jerian Grant may have led the way for Notre Dame, scoring 20 points in an 84-69 win over Santa Clara at Purcell Pavilion, but a smaller lineup with Burgett and Jackson provided the spark to help the Irish bounce back from a rare November loss.

Burgett grabbed a team-best 10 rebounds and added a defensive presence with two steals and a block. Jackson had 13 points and eight rebounds, but also ran the offense down the stretch as Notre Dame (3-1) came off a five-day layoff following its first November home loss since 1998, and first in Brey's 14 years as coach, an 83-70 defeat by Indiana State last Sunday.

"Our smaller lineup was very good," Brey said. "It's the first time with the lights on, that group having to make some plays. I was really pleased with it. I thought (Jackson) gave us a real presence."

Garrick Sherman and Eric Atkins each added 16 points for Notre Dame, which started the game with forward Tom Knight, but went to Burgett and the smaller group midway through the first half.

Santa Clara (2-2), also idle since Sunday, lost its second straight game. The Broncos were led by Brandon Clark's 21 points, and Jared Brownridge added 16.

Early in the second half, Notre Dame's Pat Connaughton stole the ball and passed ahead to Grant, who missed a wide-open dunk. John McArthur's jumper on the other end got the Broncos within four points, which they would do three more times in the second half before the Irish pulled away.

Burgett's blocked shot and dunk on the other end with 8:35 to play highlighted a 12-0 run by Notre Dame that put the Irish ahead by 16 points, finally giving them some breathing room in an otherwise tight game.

"He's active and he gives us good stuff," Brey said of Burgett. "He's fouled out of two games, I don't care. He's all over the place. He's really a key for us."

Jackson hit a 3-pointer and also converted a three-point play during Notre Dame's second half run, a big moment for the freshman in Brey's eyes.

"That might have been the most enjoyable play of the night for me because it was like, 'Wow, our young guy just had to make one at a key time and did,'" Brey said. "So we want to build on that."

Santa Clara used four early Irish turnovers to take a five-point lead, but a 7-0 Notre Dame run gave the advantage back to the Irish, 7:10 into the first half.

The lead changed hands 12 times in the first half, until Notre Dame went on a 10-0 run with 4:05 left before halftime to go up by nine points. The run was fueled by 3-pointers from Grant and Atkins, but also featured the hustle by Burgett, who in one sequence had a steal, grabbed an offensive rebound on the other end, and eventually got the assist on Grant's 3 from the left wing.

"I think with that lineup there we can really get out on the court and run the floor and spread people out," Burgett said. "So move and cut went well on offense. Then on the defensive end with those five we can really guard the ball well, we can switch if we have to and we don't have any lineup issues."

Grant scored the last seven points of that first half run.

"The beauty of their team is they've got a lot of older guys who have been through the wars," Santa Clara coach Kerry Keating said. "You've got to kind of pick your poison, and (Grant) did what he's supposed to do. He's a very good player and he'll probably make a lot of money playing basketball someday."

Notre Dame led by as many as 11 in the first half, but Clark's drive to the bucket with four seconds left cut it to a six-point Irish lead at halftime.

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