Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Notre Dame 71, WVU 44
By Matt Fortuna
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Here's a quick look at Notre Dame's 71-44 rout of West Virginia at the Joyce Center:
How it happened: Coming off the greatest comeback in school history Saturday at Villanova, Notre Dame extended its winning streak to nine games, a program record in Big East play. The Irish, now 12-3 in Big East play, shot lights out, hitting 27 of 44 field goal attempts and were 9-of-16 from 3. West Virginia shot just 31.5 percent for the game and scored just 16 second-half points after trailing 30-28 at halftime. The Irish stood up to the Mountaineers' interior in the second half after being outrebounded in the first 20 minutes.
Turning point: Notre Dame went on a 13-0 run early in the second half that spanned more than five minutes. The Irish extended their lead from five to 18 and effectively put the game out of reach. West Virginia missed all seven of its field-goal attempts and both free throw tries during the run, which ended with a Gary Browne lay-in that featured a few too many steps for the home crowd's pleasure. Scott Martin hit a 3 on the ensuing possession to restore order and put the Irish up 53-34.
Star of the game:Jerian Grant was everywhere, scoring a game-high 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting. He provided plenty of energy with active defense, timely 3-pointers and two fast-break dunks. He led a balanced attack that saw four different Irish players score in double figures.
What's next: West Virginia has a quick turnaround as it tries to build its NCAA-tournament résumé Friday against Marquette before closing the regular season with DePaul and at South Florida. Notre Dame, meanwhile, will look to avoid a trap game Saturday at St. John's before its showdown Monday at Georgetown.