By Patrick Kenney | Staff Writer
February 13, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The Irish are rolling. What a week for the Notre Dame basketball team. Consecutive wins over North Carolina, Clemson and Louisville propelled the Irish to No. 19 in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 after being previously unranked.
The Irish showed grit and poise in Saturday’s comeback win over Louisville. Notre Dame fans have come to expect such poise with upperclassmen leaders, Demetrius Jackson and Zach Auguste, at the helm. Notre Dame’s veteran players really stepped up in this game in the presence of last year’s veteran stars, Pat Connaughton of the Portland Trail Blazers and Jerian Grant of the New York Knicks. Connaughton and Grant made their way back to Purcell Pavilion for the game along with 2014 grad Eric Atkins.
Jackson kept the Irish in the game during the first half, knocking down five threes and scoring 20 of his 27 points. Jackson set the pace and controlled the floor, as the Irish could not get much else going. Louisville could not keep up with Jackson throughout the first half but held the rest of the Irish team to just 16 points, maintaining a 43-36 lead heading into the locker room. Jackson got some much needed help in the second half.
With 12 minutes to go in the game, the Irish found themselves down 10 when Steve Vasturia hit a huge three from the left wing to cut the lead to 7 at 54-47. Vasturia hit a very similar three in the North Carolina game the week prior that sparked the Irish in that game as well. Vasturia scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half and viciously attacked the basket possession after possession en route to a 71-66 Irish win. V.J. Beachem also made a couple key shots for the Irish down the stretch despite struggling for the majority of the game.
Once again, the Irish took very good care of the ball, turning it over only 9 times in the game. Notre Dame currently leads the NCAA in turnovers per game at 9 per game per the NCAA’s website. Notre Dame resumes play on Saturday, February 20th on the road at Georgia Tech.