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NCAA Game Summary - DePaul at Notre Dame

10:03 PM, Feb 13, 2013   |    comments
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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 Pavilion.

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, respectively.

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 four turnovers.

"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 not happy."

GAME NOTES:
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.

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