Published May 02, 2016
South Bend, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Jerian Grant scored 23 points and handed out eight assists to help No. 12 Notre Dame shake off a slow start and top Miami, 75-70, on Saturday.
The Fighting Irish (17-2, 5-1 ACC) trailed by as many as 12 in the second half but had enough time to recover and shoot their way out of their hole.
V.J. Beachem added 13 points on 3-of-7 shooting from 3-point range and Pat Connaughton contributed 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The Hurricanes (12-5, 2-2) were led by Sheldon McClellan's 17 points and Ja'Quan Newton chipped in 16. Tonye Jekiri scored eight with a game-high 13 rebounds, but star Angel Rodriguez had just four points on 1-of-10 shooting.
Notre Dame came into the game leading the nation in field-goal percentage at 53.0, but made only two of its first 16 attempts from long distance. After Miami got back-to-back 3s from Davon Reed and McClellan to go up 43-31, the Irish broke out of their slump.
"We were down against Georgia Tech and were down against these guys," said Notre Dame coach Mike Brey. "There's really not panic or worry or discouragement. They really have a strong belief that they will find a way to win."
Demetrius Jackson connected from beyond the arc on Notre Dame's next possession, and the Irish got triples on their next three trips down the floor to cut Miami's lead to five points. They shot 7-of-15 from 3-point range in the second half.
The Irish soon went on a 7-0 run that tied the game for the first time since it was 5-5 early in the first half. Connaughton missed the 3, but Jackson crashed the boards and hit the follow-up basket to even the score at 50. On their next possession, Grant passed to Steve Vasturia from the floor and Vasturia's running layup gave Notre Dame its first lead of the game.
"We just never responded to the second-half run they had with the threes and the twos," said McClellan. "At one point it felt like they couldn't miss."
After some back-and-forth play, the Irish took the lead for good on Grant's triple with less than 6 1/2 minutes to go. James Palmer responded with a jumper to cut Notre Dame's lead to one, but the Hurricanes would only hit three more shots from the floor the rest of the game, including McClellan's dunk as time expired.
Miami never trailed in an uncharacteristic first half for Notre Dame. Averaging the fourth-fewest turnovers per game in the country with 9.2, the Irish committed two in the first minute and five in the first 7 1/2 minutes. They shot just 40.7 percent from the field in the first half.
The Hurricanes still only led by one at the break. After Palmer's 3 with 7 1/2 minutes to play in the half put Miami up eight, Notre Dame scored on four straight possessions and would go into the break trailing 30-29.
Notre Dame now leads the all-time series, 9-8 ... Notre Dame's Zach Auguste returned after a one-game absence due to a reported academic issue and scored four points in nine minutes ... Miami's Ivan Cruz Uceda scored two points in his Hurricanes debut after sitting out the first half of the season with a suspension issued by the NCAA ... The Hurricanes fell to 10-1 when leading at halftime ... Notre Dame inducted Tom Hawkins, the school's all-time leading rebounder, into its Ring of Honor.