Dec. 2, 2015
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) – Steve Vasturia and Demetrius Jackson scored 21 points apiece to bring Notre Dame back from an 8-point halftime deficit to beat Illinois 84-79 on Wednesday.
The Fighting Irish (5-2) spoiled the reopening of Illinois’ recently renovated State Farm Center with the win in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
Notre Dame had lost two of three coming into the game and had fallen out of the Associated Press Top 25.
But a 3-pointer from Vasturia with 1:54 to play put Notre Dame up 72-62.
Illinois rode tough defense and the energy of the first night back in its campus arena to a 41-33 halftime lead.
But the Illini (3-5) went cold from the floor in the second half.
Malcolm Hill led Illinois with 19 points, while Kendrick Nunn had 13 points and seven rebounds.
Zach Auguste added 16 points with 14 rebounds for Notre Dame.
Illinois came into the game facing the challenge of controlling Jackson and, missing starting center Mike Thorne, 6-foot-10, 245-pound Auguste.
Through the first 20 minutes, Illinois blunted the offense of both. Jackson went to the locker room with a quiet four points and one assist and Auguste had seven points and four rebounds.
But Notre Dame switched to zone defense in the second half, and Illinois went cold from the floor. The Illini hit 50 percent of their shots in the first half but were 13 of 37 in the second 20 minutes. That included an ice-cold 1 of 7 to open the half.
Jackson, meanwhile, started finding his stride.
The senior hit a 3-pointer from the left, just in front of the Notre Dame bench, with 9:51 left in the game. The Irish were up 58-49 and Jackson flashed a big grin at the bench as he spun to head back up court.
Riding the energy of its first true home game of the season in the newly renovated arena, Illinois used a pair of impressive runs to build its halftime lead. Illinois played its first four home games of the season 90 miles west of campus in Springfield, Illinois.
The second, a 14-5 burst, was capped by a Jalen Coleman-Lands layup.
The Illini made that run in just under 6 minutes, all of them with Hill on the bench with two fouls.—
Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish had a flurry of turnovers early, including four in the game’s opening minutes. But they finished with nine. Jackson was 3 of 4 from 3-point range and Vasturia 3 of 5.