Nov. 7, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A stellar all-around shooting effort in which five players scored in double figures lifted the Notre Dame men’s basketball team to a 92-70 victory over Stonehill College (Mass.) in the team’s final exhibition tune-up Monday night in Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
After shooting just over 48 percent in the exhibition opener against Saint Xavier (Ill.), a 90-72 win on Nov. 1, the Irish topped that performance with an impressive 57.6 percent effort from the floor against the Skyhawks, including a 12-of-19 mark (.632) from three-point territory.
Despite sitting out much of the second half, graduate student Tim Abromaitis paced the Irish with a game-high 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting. The preseason all-BIG EAST selection also connected on four-of-six three-point attempts and pulled down seven rebounds in 25 minutes of action.
The Irish moved the ball well all night, distributing 26 assists on 38 field goals, and held a 48-18 scoring advantage in the paint against the Skyhawks.
Sophomore guard Jerian Grant dished out a game-high nine assists and added 11 points for Notre Dame, while fellow sophomore Eric Atkins contributed 12 points and eight assists. Junior forward Jack Cooley just missed a double-double with 12 points and a game-best nine rebounds.
The two teams played to a 12-12 draw in the first 7:04 before the Irish grabbed a 20-14 edge with the help of Cooley, who asserted his will around the basket and poured in eight-consecutive points to lead the Notre Dame charge.
From there, the home team found its shooting touch from the three-point line. Over the next 6:12, the Irish connected on six three-pointers – including three from Abromaitis – as part of a 24-4 run that gave Notre Dame a comfortable 44-21 advantage with 3:43 to go in the first half.
The Irish knocked down 20-of-33 field goal attempts (.606) in the opening stanza and hit on 7-of-9 three-point tries to build a 49-29 lead at the break.
A three-pointer from Andre Tongo pulled the Skyhawks back within 17 (53-36), but that’s as close as they would get, as Notre Dame outscored Stonehill, 20-7, over the next 6:36 to build its largest lead of the game at 73-43 with 11:29 to play in the contest. Atkins notched eight points and sophomore guard Alex Dragicevich connected on two three-pointers during the run.
Dragicevich tallied 10 of his 15 points in the second half and connected on all six of his field goal attempts in the game.
“When (Jerian) Grant and (Alex) Dragicevich were practicing the other night, and weren’t shooting the ball great, they got down on themselves,” said Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey. “Those guys worked harder on defense in practice, and the shots eventually started falling.”
Sophomore guard Mitchell Amelio led the way for the Skyhawks with 16 points on six-of-eight shooting while junior guard Brian Hamor added 13 points, eight assists and five rebounds in a losing effort.
Notre Dame opens its 2011-12 regular-season schedule at home against SWAC foe Mississippi Valley State at 2:00 p.m. (ET) on Saturday inside Purcell Pavilion.