Jan. 25, 2015
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Jerian Grant got No. 8 Notre Dame back into the game with his scoring. He won it with his defense.
Grant scored 25 points and blocked a last-second shot in overtime that helped the Fighting Irish beat North Carolina State 81-78 on Sunday night.
Pat Connaughton and V.J. Beachem added 11 points apiece for the Irish (19-2, 7-1 Atlantic Coast Conference).
They erased an 18-point first-half deficit, scrambled in the final minute of regulation to force OT, then made the decisive stop in the extra session to win their fourth straight.
”It was a roller-coaster,” Connaughton said.
Trevor Lacey scored 13 points and Kyle Washington added 12 for N.C. State (13-8, 4-4), which has two straight and three of four since its upset of then-No. 2 Duke two weeks ago.
”They kept going and executed well,” Lacey said. ”They hit a couple of tough shots. We have to execute the offense better when they make tough shots.”
The Wolfpack had a chance to force a second OT after Demetrius Jackson’s free throw with 12.4 seconds left made it a three-point game.
Grant got his hand on Lacey’s 3-point attempt with about 4 seconds left. He recovered to hoist another 3 at the buzzer that rimmed out.
”The stepback’s his move, so I kind of definitely sat on that and was waiting for it to come,” Grant said. ”I knew he had to get the ball up quick once he pump-faked, so I just put my hand up and with my length and my height, I got a hand on the ball.”
Jackson finished with 11 points and Zach Auguste added 10 points and 11 rebounds for Notre Dame, which seemed destined for its first ACC road loss of the season after the Wolfpack led by four in the final minute of regulation.
Jackson pulled the Irish to 71-69 with a layup with 18.7 seconds left, and Lacey’s deep inbounds pass went out of bounds off Cody Martin with 16.5 seconds to go.
”I got too much air under it,” Lacey said.
Beachem tied it by putting back Connaughton’s third-chance attempt with 1.8 seconds left, and Notre Dame got the ball back when Abdul-Malik Abu was called for pushing off while catching the long inbounds pass. Grant’s halfcourt shot at the buzzer bricked off the back iron.
Caleb Martin had 12 points, Ralston Turner added 11 and Cody Martin scored 10 for the Wolfpack, who sure looked headed for another top-10 upset after they went up 40-22 in the first half on the third dunk in a row by BeeJay Anya.
The Fighting Irish countered with a 31-12 run that Auguste capped with a fast-break layup that gave Notre Dame its first lead, 53-52, with 13 1/2 minutes left.