Jan. 26, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – At 19-2, Notre Dame is off to its best 21-game start since the 1973-74 campaign when that Irish squad registered a 20-1 mark. Boasting a 7-1 record through the first eight games in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Notre Dame also is off to its best start ever in conference play (BIG EAST or ACC). The Irish are also 4-0 on the road in the league for the first time in school history.
Notre Dame’s leading scorer, Jerian Grant, orchestrated two of those road wins last week while averaging 21.5 points, 5.0 rebounds 5.0 assists and 2.0 steals as the Irish defeated Virginia Tech, 85-60, and North Carolina State, 81-78, in overtime. For his efforts, the 6-5 guard from Bowie, Maryland, copped ACC Player of the Week honors for the second time this season. A 17-person voting panel made the selection on Monday. Earlier this season, Grant garnered co-player-of-the-week accolades on Dec. 8.
In the two games, Grant shot 50.0 percent (13-of-26) from the field and 36.4 percent (4-of-11) from three-point range in the two contests. In the win over Virginia Tech, he netted 18 points (connecting on six-of-nine shots), dished off six assists and made two steals while making hitting on six-of-his-nine field goal attempts.
In Notre Dame’s thrilling 81-78 victory at North Carolina State on Sunday night, Grant helped rally the Irish from an 18-point deficit (its largest of the season). He scored 17 second-half points en route to a game-high 25-point performance. It marked the highest scoring output for Grant ever in a conference game (BIG EAST or ACC). He played all 45 minutes of the overtime affair, grabbed three rebounds, dished off four assists and made two steals. The 25-point effort marked his seventh 20-plus point outing of the season and 21st of his career.
He currently leads the Irish in scoring at 17.1 points per game and assists (6.24). Grant started his 100th career game on Sunday against the Wolfpack and has played in 102 contests while at Notre Dame. Grant has scored in double figures in all but two games this season and in 84 contests throughout his career.
Grant stands eighth in scoring in ACC play with a 16.8 scoring average and is second in assists at 6.13 per game. Among all players in the ACC, Grant’s 1,471 career points and 568 career assists is tops in both of those categories.
After starting the season unranked, the Irish have climbed to eighth in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls. Notre Dame entertains fourth-ranked Duke on Wednesday night. It marks the first matchup of two top-10 teams at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center since Notre Dame, ranked 10th at the time, defeated fourth-ranked Pittsburgh, 66-64, on Feb. 9, 2003.