Grant, Notre Dame rally past No. 4 Duke, 77-73

Published 2:30 am Thursday, January 29, 2015

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Jerian Grant had 23 points and 12 assists and No. 8 Notre Dame made two shots in the final 67 seconds as the shot clock ran out to beat No. 4 Duke 77-73 on Wednesday night.

Grant lost control of the ball, picked it up at the free throw line and got a shot off just in time to give the Irish a 73-70 lead with 67 seconds left. After Quinn Cook hit a pair of free throws, Grant looked as though he was holding for a shot. But he fired it over to Steve Vasturia in the corner for a 3-pointer, giving the Irish a 76-72 lead. Grant then blocked a layup attempt to end the threat by Duke.

The win keeps Notre Dame (20-2, 8-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), which finished in 13th place in its first season in the league last year, in second-place halfway through the conference season, a game behind Virginia. Duke (17-3, 4-3) is off to its worst start in league play since opening the 1995-96 3-4 after losing their first four league games.

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The game was a battle of two player-of-the-year candidates and Grant came up with the big plays at the end. Jahlil Okafor led Duke with 22 points and 17 rebouinds, but he was 2-of-7 from the free throw line, including 1-of-5 in the final 4:30. Duke was just 10-of-20 from the free-throw line while the Irish were 11-of-16.

The Blue Devils failed to make the most of their opportunities, finishing with 13 offensive rebounds but had just nine second-chance points.

Zach Auguste added 14 points and six rebounds for the Irish, Pat Connaughton added 13 points and 12 rebounds and Demetrius Jackson had 10 points. Quinn Cook had 15 points for Duke, Tyus Jones 14 and Justin Winslow 13.

After Auguste tied it at 51-51 with a jumper, Jone hit a jumper to start an 8-0 run. Duke opened a 58-51 lead when Winslow hit a 3-pointer. The Irish switched to a five-guard lineup that had been successful in recent game and V.J. Beachem quickly scored on a slam dunk. But the Irish had to go back to a traditional lineup when Connaughton banged his head hard on the court.

A 3-pointer by Jones gave the Blue Devils a 63-53 lead. Moments later, though, a 12-0 run by Notre Dame closed the score to 65-63 on a fastbreak layup by Jackson and a basket inside by Auguste over Okafor and a layup by Grant.

Okafor finally ended a 5:30 scoreless drought by the Blue Devils to tie it at 67.


Duke: The Blue Devils failed in their attempt to win three games against top 10 opponents on the road for the first time in program history. They beat then-No. 2 Wisconsin 80-70 on Dec. 3 and then-No. 6 Louisville 63-52 on Jan. 17. … Okafor scored in double figures for the 20th straight game. … The Blue Devils lead the series against Notre Dame 19-4. … The Blue Devils and Irish play again at Duke on Feb. 7.

Notre Dame: The Irish improved to 6-1 at home against top 10 teams at home since 2010, with the only loss coming against then-No. 3 Virginia earlier this month. … The Irish are 14-7 overall under coach Mike Brey against top 10 teams at home. … Notre Dame is 6-1 this season in games decided by five points or fewer. … Notre Dame has won two straight against Duke after losing 11 straight. … It was Notre Dame’s 600th home victory since the Joyce Center opened since the building opened during the 1968-69 season. The Irish are 600-157 at home in that span.


Duke: at No. 2 Virginia on Saturday.

Notre Dame: at Pittsburgh on Saturday.