No. 24 Notre Dame beats South Florida 73-65
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - South Florida saw its upset bid dashed after a rough second half against No. 24 Notre Dame.
Jerian Grant scored 18 points and Tom Knight had 17 as Notre Dame beat South Florida 73-65 on Saturday.
Zach LeDay had 17 points and Anthony Collins added 12 for South Florida (10-9, 1-6 Big East). Collins had 10 points in the first half when the Bulls grabbed a 35-28 lead.
"Once they got momentum going second half, we just couldn't get it back,'' South Florida coach Stan Heath said.
Notre Dame used a 20-3 run to go ahead 48-40 with 13 minutes to play. Pat Connaughton's 3-pointer broke a 40-all tie before Knight dunked and Grant connected on a 3 to make it 48-40.
Knight, a 6-foot-10 senior, made his first start of the season. It was his first career double-digit scoring game.
The Fighting Irish played without sixth-year forward Scott Martin, who is out indefinitely with a bad left knee.
Eric Atkins added 13 points and Connaughton contributed 12 for Notre Dame (16-4, 4-3), which had lost three of four, including a 63-47 home loss to Georgetown last Monday.
"Just coming on the road, getting away is definitely something that we needed,'' Grant said. "It just helps our focus get back there, where we needed it to be.''
Notre Dame forward Jack Cooley, who entered averaging 14.8 points, finished with six points and 14 rebounds.
South Florida got within 52-48 midway through the second half on LeDay's basket. Notre Dame responded by scoring the next six points, a three-point play by Grant and a 3-pointer by Atkins.
Victor Rudd gave South Florida a 37-28 lead with a dunk on the first possession of the second half.
Collins' three-point play tied it at 28 4 minutes before intermission.
"We talked about 20 ways of how we're going to deal with him in the ball screen,'' Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "He just keeps putting pressure on you, getting into the lane deeper and deeper. If we didn't fix that, we would have lost by 15. I love him. He's a fearless guy. There's no one else like him in our league.''
Toarlyn Fitzpatrick hit a long-range jumper, JaVontae Hawkins had a tip-in and Rudd made a jumper that put the Bulls up 35-28 in the final minute of the half.
"Great first half,'' Heath said. "We really shot the ball well. Played well as a team. Our zone was really effective in the first half and that gave us the stops we needed to keep momentum going.''
Notre Dame took a 24-18 lead on Connaughton's rebound basket with 8 minutes left in the opening half. The Fighting Irish failed to score during the first-half's final 5 minutes.
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