Stetson-Notre Dame Preview


Notre Dame coach Mike Brey embraced the fact that his team had to work hard at times while winning its season opener.

The No. 21 Fighting Irish hope to be more consistent Sunday when they host Stetson.

Though Notre Dame led by as many as 16 points three times during Friday's 74-62 victory over Miami of Ohio, that lead was cut to eight with 6:20 remaining in the contest. The Irish shot 50 percent (26 of 52) from the field, but the RedHawks often outhustled the hosts and finished with a 30-27 advantage on the boards.

Brey, however, hopes the resolve Notre Dame showed will benefit the squad going forward.

"It was good for us, because it was a hard game," he said. "I love that it wasn't easy for us.

"The way it starts out, you think it's going to be maybe like the exhibition games. And they make a run, which is what college basketball is all about, and you can't really get away from them. And there's some game pressure on you."

The Irish expect to find themselves in plenty of pressure situations during their first season in the new-look, 15-team ACC. Playing through some of those scenarios and learning how to handle such situations early on could help with that preparation.

"We want to be consistent," guard Jerian Grant. "As an individual, being consistent. As a team, you know we're going to have to play better as team. But just staying consistent and playing well as a team."

Grant certainly played well while scoring a career-high 26 points and making 5 of 8 3-point attempts. A preseason all-ACC first-team selection, Grant averaged a team-leading 13.3 points for last season's squad that went 25-10, but lost 76-58 to Iowa State in their NCAA tournament opener.

Notre Dame forward Cam Biedscheid averaged 6.2 points and 17.4 minutes while playing 34 games for that team as a freshman, but the school announced Friday that he will redshirt for the 2013-14 season.

"We've made a decision on the five-year program,'' Brey said. "He and I have talked about it for about a week and methodically came to that decision. It's just best for him all the way around and his development."

Stetson hopes to further develop while facing its second straight ACC opponent after falling 71-51 at Clemson in its opener Friday. Guard Aaron Graham scored a team-high 11 points for the Hatters, who were mired in a 33-5 first-half run while shooting 20.8 percent and trailed 46-15 after 20 minutes.

They settled down in the second half and shot 48 percent to outscore the Tigers by 11.

"We've got to understand that we've got to play 40 hard minutes," said first-year Stetson coach Corey Williams, who spent the past six seasons as an assistant at Florida State.

"We move from one ACC to team to another ACC team. We've got to be ready again. Whatever we take from the second half (Friday), we have to apply from the beginning against Notre Dame, because they are a team that can score in bunches.

"We have to be functioning on all cylinders."

Notre Dame beat Stetson 79-55 at home in the teams' only other meeting Dec. 21, 1998.