Dec. 20, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Notre Dame was already well on its way to routing Purdue when Demetrius Jackson really revved up the Irish fans.
Jackson emphatically dunked over 7-foot-2 center Isaac Haas with 13:40 left Saturday, bringing the Notre Dame crowd to its feet at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“I just wanted to finish strong and have a play that kind of set the tone and just ignite our team,” Jackson said after the 94-63 romp over Purdue in the Crossroads Classic.
Jackson scored 22 points for the Irish (11-1).
“Demetrius just really ignited us with his ball pressure. Probably his dunk was kind of the exclamation point to kind of say we were probably going to win it today,” coach Mike Brey said.
Pat Connaughton had 19 points and 14 rebounds. Steve Vasturia and Austin Torres each contributed 11 for Notre Dame and Jerian Grant and Zach Auguste both added 10.
“We obviously were very ready to play,” Brey said. “We’ve had some explosive offensive teams, but this team does it even more powerfully.”
Notre Dame’s only loss this season was a one-point defeat at Providence. Since then, the Irish have won six straight.
Purdue (8-4) led by eight early in the first half, but trailed 46-39 at the break.
Jon Octeus, Bryson Scott and A.J. Hammons all finished with 11 points for the Boilermakers.
Connaughton had 12 points and eight rebounds at halftime. The Irish broke away from their in-state rivals in the final 20 minutes, shooting 54 percent and outscoring Purdue 48-24.
“We got what we deserved,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said.
“When we were up 16-8 in the first half, we had four ill-advised shots. You have to take good shots. Down 46-44 in the second half, we had two blocked shots, or two turnovers, and they dunked it twice and I had to call timeout. It just snowballed from there,” he said.
Haas and Hammons, the 7-foot centers, found themselves in foul trouble and each wound up with four. Haas picked up his first foul 54 seconds into the game.
Haas and Hammons combined for just five rebounds.
“They were in foul trouble, too,” Painter said. “We were all right. We were fine. Notre Dame just stole our spirit and our guys gave in.”
Notre Dame: Connaughton recorded his third double-double of the season. …Jackson scored in double figures for the 10th time this season. … Notre Dame is 11-0 when leading at halftime.
Purdue: With the Boilermakers’ next win, Painter will reach win No. 200 with Purdue. … The Boilermakers were allowing an average of 60.5 points per game before playing Notre Dame.
Notre Dame hosts Northern Illinois on Monday.
Purdue hosts Gardner-Webb on Monday.