SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Mike Brey hopes Notre Dame’s hot shooting Monday night was a sign of things to come.
The Irish shot 61 percent from the field, and six players scored in double figures, led by Jerian Grant’s 22 in a 92-65 win over Chicago State. Notre Dame also made 55 percent from 3-point range, which Brey would like to see carry over to Thursday’s game against No. 8 Kentucky.
“I’m hoping we can really build on that because we’re going to have to make some shots,” Brey said. “With the shot blockers that they have, you’re not going to get as much stuff in the lane. We’ll have to get out in transition and make some, and we did that tonight.”
The Irish (6-1) took a 51-32 lead into the break, thanks largely to their blistering accuracy from beyond the arc. They hit 10 of 16 3-point attempts in the first half, a 62.5-percent clip.
Scott Martin and freshman Cameron Biedscheid each hit 3 of 5 3-point attempts for the Irish.
“When we’re knocking down shots and running up and down the court, Coach Brey just lets us go,” said Grant, who also dished out a career-high 10 assists. He said his quick start fueled his night.
“I feel like if I can get myself going early as a player, I’m more involved in the game and have more energy throughout the whole game.”
He hit a strong baseline drive and drew a foul, then made the free throw, to give Notre Dame its then-biggest lead, 42-27, with 3:20 to go in the half. Moments later, he stole an inbound pass near the top of the Chicago State key and drove the length of the floor for an electrifying windmill dunk.
Notre Dame put the game away with a 10-0 run that began with 13:28 left in the game, stretching its lead to 27 with 10:37 left. Biedscheid started it with a 3, followed by three low-post put-ins by sixth-man forward Garrick Sherman and a 15-footer by point guard Eric Atkins.
Six Irish players scored in double figures. Atkins had 13, Sherman scored 12, and Jack Cooley and Martin contributed 11 points each.
Clarke Rosenberg led the Cougars (1-6) with 16 points. The Cougars shot just 36 percent from the field, and were outscored 42-24 in the paint.
Chicago State coach Tracy Dildy said he felt his team played competitively with the Irish early, but simply couldn’t contain all of their weapons.
“We were really worried about Cooley,” Dildy said. “We limited his touches in the first half. But when you’ve got shooters, penetrators and posts, it’s hard to come up with a defense that can stop everybody. It was like us choosing the lesser of two evils.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.