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Notre Dame Cruises By George Wash.

After a defensive battle early on, the Notre Dame men’s basketball team finally opened things up late in the first half Wednesday night to put visiting George Washington away, 65-48, and improve to 4-1.

Senior center Garrick Sherman led the Irish with 18 points in a 17-point win over visiting George Washington

The teams were tied at 2-2 through the first three minutes of play before Fighting Irish junior guard Jerian Grant connected on a pair of 3-pointers to give the home team an 8-2 advantage with 15:22 to play in the first half. Grant and sixth man Garrick Sherman (center) both had 12 points through the first 20 minutes to lead Notre Dame, which only had three other players with two points apiece in support en route to a 32-21 cushion.

Sherman (senior) ended the night with a game-high 18 points and seven rebounds, followed by Grant (13) and senior forward Jack Cooley (eight points and eight rebounds). The Fighting Irish shot 48.3 percent from the floor (28-for-58) and made just 3 of 13 attempts from behind the 3-point line.

The Colonials (1-2) were held to just 32.8-percent shooting (22-for-67) and hit only two triples. Neither team got to the line often, with Notre Dame outscoring George Washington 6-2.

Irish head coach Mike Brey, an alumnus of George Washington, said establishing a post presence early made all the difference. Sherman, who struggled over the weekend at the Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y., scoring a combined 11 points, took some coaching to heart on the offensive end.

“We made a conscious effort of getting our big guys touches,” Brey said. “Certainly Garrick Sherman kept it simple, slowed down a little bit. That’s how we practiced. We talked to him about slowing it down and not making [high] degree of difficulty post moves. He was extremely efficient.

“I was proud of our defense. Gave up 21 points at [the] half and we don’t really let them get any looks at the 3-point line and we keep them off the foul line. Good efficient win for us.”

As expected, freshmen forwards Cam Biedscheid and Zach Auguste got some valuable minutes Wednesday. Biedscheid chipped in seven points and Auguste added five, and both came away with strong jams down the stretch. Junior starting point guard Eric Atkins had nine assists to go with six points, sophomore guard Pat Connaughton finished with six points and five rebounds and sixth-year senior Scott Martin had two points and nine rebounds.

Notre Dame improved to 43-0 in the month of November and 103-7 in the last 110 games at Purcell Pavilion. It was the first game of a four-game home stand, with St. Francis (Penn.) in the on-deck circle for a 1 p.m. tipoff Saturday.

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