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Senior saves best for last to preserve Notre Dame win

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press

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For more on college basketball, follow Tom Davis via Twitter at www.twitter.com/Tom101010.

Grant makes presence felt at both ends in Irish victory

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 2:39 am

SOUTH BEND - Jerian Grant hit a late 3-pointer and scored 23 points Monday to help Notre Dame scrap out a win over Bryant, 70-59 in the second round of the Gotham Classic at Purcell Pavilion.

Two days after pumping in 25 and knocking down two late jumpers to hold off Delaware, Grant hit a three from the left corner with 1:28 to play, then blocked a Dyami Starks shot on the other end.

Pat Connaughton had 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Irish (7-2) and Garrick Sherman also chipped in a double double with 14 points and 13 boards.

Alex Francis scored 17 points and Joe O'Shea finished with 13 for Bryant (6-4). Starks, the Bulldogs' leading scorer at 23.4 points per game coming in, had 12.

With Notre Dame up by six with 4:07 to go, Bryant's Corey Maynard was called for an intentional foul on Demetrius Jackson, but the Irish managed only one free throw out of the sequence.

Maynard then hit a 3-pointer on the other end to cut Notre Dame's lead to four points.

But as the clock wound down under two minutes, Eric Atkins eventually found Grant in the corner to knock down his only field goal of the second half after five straight misses.

Turnovers on three straight possessions early in the second half aided a 7-0 Bryant run that got the Bulldogs within six points, and a Starks 3-pointer with 13:13 to go got them within five, which they would do three different times in the second half.

But the Irish worked the ball down low to Sherman on back-to-back offensive trips, and he converted on both to push Notre Dame's lead back to nine with 6:07 to play.

Two 3-pointers from Starks bookended a 10-0 Bryant run in the first half that put the Bulldogs up 17-12, 11:39 into the game.

O'Shea hit consecutive 3-pointers to get the Bulldogs back up by 4 with 8:27 left. Notre Dame outscored Bryant 18-2 from that point to close out the half, including 11 straight, punctuated by Grant's breakaway slam off a Bryant turnover.

The Irish led by 12 and Grant had 15 points and six assists at the half.