Grant leads Notre Dame in win over Cornell, 101-67 - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Grant leads Notre Dame in win over Cornell, 101-67

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By STEVE LOWE
Associated Press


   SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- As Notre Dame coach Mike Brey continues to tinker with his lineup early in the season, he decided Sunday to go small and see what he got.
 
   Brey inserted freshman Demetrius Jackson into the lineup to give the Fighting Irish three guards to go with guard/forward Pat Connaughton and center Garrick Sherman. That lineup responded with Notre Dame's highest scoring game this season, a 101-67 rout of Cornell at Purcell Pavilion.
 
   Jerian Grant scored 20 points to reach 1,000 for his career, Eric Atkins added 19 points and Connaughton had 18 points and 10 rebounds as all five Irish starters reached double figures.
 
   "We just wanted to start a different way," Brey said. "I've liked that lineup in stretches in previous games, and I liked it in practice.
 
   "I'm still searching."
 
   Despite the success his guard-heavy group had against Cornell, nothing is set in stone. With a trip to face No. 23 Iowa in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge on Tuesday, Brey still isn't sure which lineup will be on the floor at any given time.
 
   "I told them after the game, `You know, in Iowa City on Tuesday, who knows who finishes? I have no idea, so all ten of you be ready,"' Brey said.
 
   Nolan Cressler scored 17 points and Robert Hatter had 15 to pace Cornell, which has now lost 15 in a row dating back to last season, one away from tying the school record longest losing streak of 16, set in the 1972-73 season.
 
   The Big Red, which won 29 games and advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2010, is 0-9 for the first time since 1904-05, when it started 0-10.
 
   After starting the game 2-for-10, Notre Dame (5-1) found the range, shooting over 62 percent from the field in the second half. The Irish also had 28 assists against just five turnovers, and broke the 100-point mark for the first time since its 5-overtime upset of Louisville last season.
 
   "With the new starting lineup we have, we're going to score a lot more points and be on the fastbreak a lot more," Grant said. "And defensively, I think it helps us a lot with us four being able to press full-court a little bit."
 
   Grant knocked down a pair of 3-pointers early in the second half as Notre Dame hit four in a row from deep, but Hatter kept the Big Red within striking distance. Hatter scored Cornell's first six points of the second half and continually found room in the lane, forcing Notre Dame coach Mike Brey to switch to a zone defense.
 
   Cornell missed its next three field goals, and a 3-pointer and conventional three-point play by Connaughton started a 17-2 run that pushed Notre Dame's lead to 25 points with 6:26 to play.
 
   Cornell went 4:29 without a field goal during that run.
 
   "Notre Dame's a very, very good offensive team, we're not a great defensive team, so when you put those two things together, it ends up in a 30-some plus margin of victory," said Cornell coach Bill Courtney. "They came out and hit that barrage of 3s, and whatever it seems we did, they countered it."
 
   Grant's three-point play with 7:18 remaining got him to the 1,000-point mark, making him the 55th Irish player to accomplish that.
 
   "It feels good," Grant said. "It's an elite group of people, 50-some people, so just to be able to be in that group is exciting."
 
   Cornell, which finished 8 of 21 from the arc, hit its first two 3-pointers and scored the game's first eight points before the Irish got it going. Notre Dame scored the next 10 points, and went on a 22-4 run to go up by 10 with 8:39 to play in the first half. Cornell hit just 1 of 11 shots, including seven straight misses, during that nine-minute stretch.
 
   "At first, starting out 8-0, it didn't look like it was working out too well. But we finally got it clicking a little bit," Atkins said. "We can really get out and run. As soon as a team misses, I feel like we're down the court now in a few seconds. We can really space the floor, so it gives us a lot of open jump shots and driving lanes."
 
   Notre Dame's biggest first-half lead was 14 points, and Connaughton finished the half with 12.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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