Notre Dame fights its way to senior night win over St. Johns
Posted: 03/05/2013 at 11:00 pm
By: Rachel Terlep
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Notre Dame players Zach Auguste (2) Pat Crowley, middle, Cameron Biedscheid, middle right obscured, and Jack Cooley (45) scuffle with St. John's players including Jamal Branch (0) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, March 5, 2013 in South Bend, Ind. Biedscheid and St. John's Sir'Dominic Pointer received technical fouls and were ejected from the game. Notre Dame won 66-40. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)
Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant drives the lane during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against St. John's on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 in South Bend, Ind. Grant lead all scorers with 21 points as Notre Dame won 66-40. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)
Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey, left, talks with forward Jack Cooley during senior class ceremonies prior to an NCAA college basketball game against St. John's on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)
St. John’s guard Sir’Dominic Pointer lashed out against Notre Dame guard Cam Biedscheid, and the two tangled in a scuffle that took all eyes off of Cooley.
Teammates and security guards pulled the two apart, and referees ejected both players. Minutes later, Cooley got a proper send-off.
“It was too bad that that put a black eye on a neat senior night,” Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said. “Cam just said he was defending himself. He felt it started with the other guy. I’m not going to tell my guys not to defend themselves.”
St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin said Pointer told him that he “lost his cool.”
It’s not hard to imagine why.
After leading by seven in the first half and by four at halftime, St. John’s (16-13, 8-9 Big East) checked out by scoring 14 points and shooting 18.5 percent from the field in the second half.
No. 24 Notre Dame (23-7, 11-6 Big East), on the other hand, blitzed back with a 26-6 scoring run, improving its field goal shooting from 8-of-29 in the first half to 17-of-25 in the second.
The Irish won 66-40.
“Our offensive efficiency helped us on defense really well,” Cooley said of the second half. “It’s hard for them to play defense when they’re not scoring. They only had, like, 14 points in the second half. That’s outrageous. We just did such a good job stopping their transition points that it got them frustrated and they didn’t want to play defense because they were too focused on not scoring.”
After not scoring at all against Marquette on Saturday, March 2, and in the first half against St. John’s, Cooley came back with 12 points and 13 rebounds in the second half for his 19th double-double this season.
“Some of the reasons I didn’t play at the beginning of last year was because I was too worried about my stats and things like that,” Cooley said. “You just have to go out there and play and it will come as long as you play hard.”
Though it was Cooley’s grand finale at the Purcell Pavilion, a pair of juniors stole the show.
Jerian Grant went 5-of-6 from behind the 3-point arc to finish with a team-high 21 points, while point guard Eric Atkins dished out pretty passes to Cooley down low for seven assists and 15 points.
“Our guards ran the whole building tonight,” Brey said. “They probably took tickets and sold popcorn. When our guards play like that, I just sit down and shut up and let them do whatever they want.”
JaKarr Sampson led the Red Storm with 12 points.
The Irish will wrap up their regular season with a Saturday trip to No. 8 Louisville, a team Notre Dame beat in five overtimes in Feburary.
Five of the last six meetings between Notre Dame and Louisville have ended in overtime.
Brey joked that he and Cardinals coach Rick Pitino will agree on how many overtimes they’ll let the game go to this time around.
“What about three?” Brey said with a smile.
No. 24 NOTRE DAME 66, ST. JOHN’S 40
ST. JOHN’S (16-13)
Sampson 5-15 2-2 12, Obekpa 1-2 0-0 2, Branch 1-7 0-0 2, Greene IV 5-14 0-2 10, Pointer 2-6 2-2 7, Bourgault 0-3 0-0 0, Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Garrett 2-4 1-1 5, Lipscomb 0-0 0-0 0, Balamou 1-4 0-0 2, White 0-1 0-0 0, Ndiaye 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-56 5-7 40.
NOTRE DAME (23-7)
Knight 3-4 1-2 7, Cooley 5-7 2-3 12, Atkins 6-12 0-0 15, Grant 7-16 2-2 21, Connaughton 3-9 2-2 8, Biedscheid 0-2 0-0 0, Auguste 1-3 1-2 3, Crowley 0-0 0-0 0, Sherman 0-1 0-0 0, Burgett 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-54 8-11 66.
Halftime—St. John’s 26-22. 3-Point Goals—St. John’s 1-13 (Pointer 1-4, Balamou 0-1, Garrett 0-1, White 0-1, Bourgault 0-3, Greene IV 0-3), Notre Dame 8-17 (Grant 5-6, Atkins 3-5, Biedscheid 0-2, Connaughton 0-4). Fouled Out—Pointer. Rebounds—St. John’s 34 (Pointer 12), Notre Dame 36 (Cooley 13). Assists—St. John’s 10 (Pointer 4), Notre Dame 16 (Grant 8). Total Fouls—St. John’s 13, Notre Dame 9. Technicals—Pointer, Biedscheid. Ejections—. Ejections—Garrett, Biedscheid. A—9,149.