West Virginia vs Notre Dame

No. 20 Notre Dame routs West Virginia


SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Swiftly and convincingly, No. 20 Notre Dame pulled away with the kind of resolve that has characterized the Irish's transformation during a head-turning nine-game winning streak.

Using balanced scoring and defensive quickness, the Irish coasted to a one-sided 71-44 victory over West Virginia on Wednesday night after leading by two points at halftime.

"I thought our offensive efficiency was excellent in the second half. When you had a chance to put somebody away this group has shown a cruelty to go for the jugular," coach Mike Brey said after the Irish secured his sixth straight 20-win season.

"That's what I really love about us. I think that can help us in March."

Jerian Grant scored 20 points and had a couple of acrobatic dunks, Notre Dame made 8 of 11 3-point attempts, shot 61 percent overall and outscored West Virginia 41-16 in the second half.

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Scott Martin added 15 points and Jack Cooley and Eric Atkins had 13 each for the Irish, who were not expected to be contenders after losing three starters from last season and then Tim Abromatis early this season to a knee injury.

The Irish (20-8, 12-3 Big East) have not lost since Jan. 16 at Rutgers and are 15-1 at the Purcell Pavilion. It's the first time in program history Notre Dame has won nine straight Big East games.

"They really wanted that record," Brey said. "It's really special for this group to do it."

The Irish went on a 17-4 run to start the second half to break it open.

"We just got into a rhythm and once this team gets into a rhythm I think we can beat a lot of teams," said Grant, whose emergence has been one of the big keys in Notre Dame's tear.

"We just got flowing and obviously our defense held them to 16 points in the second half."

The Mountaineers (17-11, 7-8), meanwhile, are going in the other direction with six losses in eight games. Kevin Jones had 15 points for West Virginia, which shot just 31.5 percent and made only 6 of 27 field goal attempts after halftime. And the Mountaineers misfired on 10 of their 11 3-point attempts.

It was an ugly second half.

"They got us in transition and then we panicked and took quick shots," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said.

"Quick shots and bad shots -- that's a recipe for what happened. We got so many young guys that they panicked. ... We're not athletic. We're probably the most non-athletic team in the league. When you're non-athletic you start taking some quick shots and all of a sudden they're running at you, you've got problems."

Notre Dame's quickness began to show in the first 5 minutes of the second half after the Irish led 30-28 at halftime.

Atkins' three-point play, a steal leading to a dunk by Grant and Grant's 3-pointer after an offensive rebound built a 10-point lead. After a timeout, Atkins hit a jumper and Martin connected on a 3-pointer and the 17-4 run put the Irish up 47-32.

Grant took off on a dunk attempt with just less than 10 minutes to play and lost the ball on his way to the rim. But he hustled and came up with the ball in the corner and hit a 3-pointer to give the Irish a 58-35 lead.

"I kind of lost the ball. But I got it back," Grant said with a smile.

Just to show how things have been going for the Irish, Cooley tossed up a shot after a timeout had been called and it swished through late in the first half. He scored nine of his 11 points in the final 5 minutes of the first half as the Irish shrugged off a sluggish start and took a two-point lead behind 63 percent shooting.

West Virginia's Darryl Bryant, scoreless in the first meeting between the teams, a 55-51 Irish win in Morgantown on Feb. 8, had 10 points in the first half and none in the second.

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Jerian Grant drives the Fighting Irish to victory with a game-high 20 points against West Virginia. (US Presswire)
Jerian Grant drives the Fighting Irish to victory with a game-high 20 points against West Virginia. (US Presswire)
West Virginia (17-11)281644
Notre Dame #20 (20-8) «304171
WV:K. Jones 15 Pts
WV:K. Jones 8 Reb
WV:D. Bryant 4 Ast
ND:J. Grant 20 Pts
ND:S. Martin 6 Reb
ND:E. Atkins 8 Ast

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West VirginiaNotre Dame
Kevin Jones
Jerian Grant
West Virginia Mountaineers
D. Bryant, G403-114-634210
K. Jones, F396-123-381115
G. Browne, G342-40-03214
J. Hinds, G301-90-02313
D. Kilicli, F224-110-05038
P. Williamson, G150-30-00000
T. McCune, F101-30-01122
D. Rutledge, F100-12-42012
K. Noreen, FDid Not Play
A. Brown, FDid Not Play
P. Forsythe, CDid Not Play
K. Miles, FDid Not Play
Totals 17-549-1324111144
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
E. Atkins, G396-111-348313
S. Martin, G365-72-261315
J. Grant, G358-110-023220
J. Cooley, F345-73-460213
P. Connaughton, G-F240-20-05400
A. Dragicevich, G202-32-21118
J. Brooks, G50-10-02000
T. Knight, F40-00-01020
P. Crowley, G20-10-00000
M. Broghammer, F11-10-01002
Totals 27-448-1128171371
Big East
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Seton Hall4-315-517
St. Johns0-810-1077

TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
N. Carolina5-216-43
Miami (Fla.)3-314-419
Georgia Tech3-310-9141
Florida St.3-414-541
Boston College3-413-765
NC State3-413-786
Notre Dame3-413-763
Va. Tech2-413-6105
Wake Forest1-68-11128
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