South Bend, IN (Sports Network) - It wasn't a five-overtime thriller, but No.
21 Notre Dame, led by Jerian Grant and Jack Cooley, needed to play past
regulation once again to pull out an 82-78 victory over DePaul at Purcell
Wednesday's meeting came four days after the Fighting Irish outlasted
Louisville on the same court, and marked the second time this month the
schools needed an extra five minutes to determine a victor.
The outcome was the same, as Grant logged 21 points and nine assists and
Cooley added 16 points and 10 rebounds to carry Notre Dame (20-5, 8-4 Big
East) to its fifth win in six games.
"We could've been tired and just said we'll let one get away," Grant said.
"For this team to come back and go into another overtime and pull it out is
definitely mentally tough."
The Blue Demons (10-14, 1-10) have lost nine in a row since earning their lone
conference win against Providence, though three have come in overtime affairs.
Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young paced DePaul with 23 and 20 points,
The Demons were trying to notch their first win over a ranked opponent in over
five years and were hoping to end an eight-game losing streak to the Irish.
They led late in the second half before Grant, who scored 12 points in the
final 45 seconds of regulation to force OT against Louisville, tied the game
at 63-63 on a three-point play with 4:40 remaining.
It was still tied, 66-66, with under a minute to play in regulation and stayed
that way after Melvin was short on a turnaround in the lane and Grant air-
balled a fadeaway from just inside the arc at the buzzer.
Grant hit a go-ahead free throw early in the extra session and converted an
acrobatic layup while being fouled with 1:39 left, the free throw giving
Notre Dame a 77-73 cushion.
DePaul's Worrel Clahar went 1-for-2 from the foul line at the other end before
a shot clock violation gave the ball back to DePaul with 48.2 seconds to go.
Melvin then scored inside to force Notre Dame to make its free throws. Grant
made his two with 25.9 ticks left, then knocked the ball off Jamee Crockett's
leg on a drive in the lane.
After Cooley went 1-of-2 at the foul line, Young missed a jumper and the hosts
held on for another close win.
"It kind of felt like, 'Here we go again,' but we knew we were going to put it
away," Cooley said.
DePaul had no turnovers in the first 13 minutes of the game, then turned it
over on three consecutive possessions during an 8-0 run that gave Notre Dame a
32-23 lead with five minutes remaining in the opening half.
The Irish were up by as many as 14 and went into the break holding a 43-32
lead behind their 55 percent shooting effort, but the second half was a
different story offensively for the hosts.
DePaul chipped away at its deficit and went ahead, 58-57, when Crockett
drained a 3-pointer with just over eight minutes to play. The bucket was part
of an 11-1 run that saw Notre Dame go 0-for-3 from the field while committing
"I thought we played a really good second half in terms of defending a lot
better, defending ball screens a lot better which were giving us problems in
the first half," DePaul head coach Oliver Purnell said. "I'm encouraged, but
Notre Dame set a school record with its seventh straight 20-win campaign ...
Notre Dame made half of its 56 field goal attempts and improved to 11-0 this
season when shooting 50 percent or better ... The Irish outscored the Blue
Demons at the free throw line, 21-4 ... Notre Dame's bench outscored DePaul
reserves, 20-8 ... Cooley recorded his fifth straight double-double... DePaul
has lost its last eight overtime games ... DePaul's last win over a ranked
opponent came against Villanova on Jan. 3, 2008.