Notre Dame men's basketball: Sherman bounces back

South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND Previous times after tough nights would have seen Notre Dame senior power forward Garrick Sherman float through the hours in a fog wondering what he needed to do to be better. But having been around the college game for five years and knowing that he has to be a main guy this season for the No. 21 Irish, Sherman barely dwelled on starting off with a struggle Friday against Miami (Ohio). He knew there would be another opportunity in a hurry, and he was prepared to bounce back in a bigger and better way Sunday against Stetson. He did. Coming off an effort of three points, four rebounds and five fouls, Sherman returned with 15 points and nine rebounds, which tied his career high, as the Irish coasted to an 80-49 victory at Purcell Pavilion. “It was a good bounce-back game,” Sherman said. “That's one of the things about being an old guy — you've been around the block. You realize it's not the end of the world. It's one game. You've got to get over it and on to the next one and I was able to do that.” The Irish (2-0) never trailed for the second straight game and led by as many as 35 points. The all-around efficient effort early from Sherman and the starters allowed coach Mike Brey to dive deep into his bench.  Ten players saw action and all logged at least 12 minutes. No Irish played more than 27 minutes. “I was sweating profusely because they take one good scorer out and they put another good scorer in,” said first-year Stetson coach Corey Williams. “It just makes it difficult because they hit you from different angles and they've got players. “They have guys who are skilled basketball players. They can hit you in waves. It makes it very difficult when you're that deep.” Brian Pegg led the Hatters (0-2) with 13 points. The game was one-sided almost from the start. Notre Dame jumped to a 14-point lead less than six minutes in and tossed together runs of 21-5 and 10-3 to lead by 30 at intermission. “That was a good day for us early in the season trying to figure out our young guys,” Brey said. “We know who our old guys are.” One of those old guys is Sherman, who shrugged off Friday's frustration, when point-blank shots on the rim bounced one way or another but seldom down. He missed his first six attempts and finished 1-of-7. On Sunday, he made his first three and looked more in the flow of allowing opportunities to come to him instead of hunting for them. He shot 7-for-11 and followed through on Brey's advice just before tip to have a little more fun. “It's a good feeling watching that first one go in,” Sherman said. “I was able to carry off of those first few buckets and have a good night tonight.” Sherman admitted that not playing well Friday would have bothered him earlier in his career. Not now, not even after last year when he worried so much about keeping his spot in the rotation that he lost it in mid-January after struggling. This year, every night is a new night. “Last year I let one bad game turn into two,” he said. “This year, I know, on to the next one. You just gotta erase it.” Sherman wasn't the only Irish power forward who needed to play well and did. Still on the mend after suffering a broken left hand last month, sophomore Zach Auguste delivered nine points, five rebounds and two assists in 17 lively minutes. “This was a good day for him,” Brey said. “He was active, moving, running. He needed a day like this.” While the Irish old guys played like old guys, freshman guard Demetrius Jackson continued to settle into his place in the program. After a quiet debut — he scored two points in 13 minutes — Jackson returned with a little more swagger. Like with Sherman, a few words from the head coach helped. “The key is attacking,” Brey said.” I talked to him (Sunday) morning and I said, 'Would you just attack? Would you just go?'I don't care if you charge somebody, but just go to the hole and use that strength and speed.' I thought he took a big step forward attacking.” Instead of playing passively, Jackson drove it hard to the hoop, either out of halfcourt sets or in transition. He twice put his head down and hurried the length of the floor before finishing strong. He also took a quick shot in a halfcourt set (which really is OK in this offense) and spotted up in the far corner and confidently took and made a 3. Jackson finished with nine points, three assists and three rebounds in 18 minutes. “Definitely a lot more comfortable,” Jackson said. “My coaches and teammates did a good job helping me stay positive and helping me know what I need to do. “I need to work on being more consistent.” A lopsided first half allowed Brey to again mix-and-match different lineup combinations. For the final 3:26 of the period, he fielded a five of three freshmen and two sophomores. That group promptly finished on a 10-3 run, highlighted by five quick points from Jackson, for a 51-21 Irish lead at intermission. That combination returned to work together midway through the second half, and again toward the end. “That's the group we usually practice with,” Jackson said. “We just try to be consistent and stay in character.” STETSON: Kentwan Smith 1-7 1-2 4, Willie Green 4-10 0-0 8, Raymone Andrews 0-4 0-0 0, Hunter Miller 1-1 0-0 3, Aaron Graham 2-6 0-0 6, B.J. Glasford 1-2 0-0 2, Raekwon Harney 0-1 0-0 0, Tanner Plemmons 2-4 0-0 6, Lek Solanke 0-0 0-0 0, Glenn Baral 2-6 2-2 7, Kyle Sikora 0-0 0-0 0, Brian Pegg 5-15 3-4 13. Totals 18-56 6-8 49. NOTRE DAME: Tom Knight 2-6 0-0 4, Garrick Sherman 7-11 1-2 15, Eric Atkins 3-6 0-0 8, Jerian Grant 4-6 5-7 15, Pat Connaughton 4-5 0-0 10, V. J. Beachem 1-5 0-0 3, Austin Burgett 3-4 0-0 7, Demetrius Jackson 4-5 0-0 9, Zack Auguste 4-7 1-2 9, Steve Vasturia 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 32-57 7-11 80.  Halftime — Notre Dame 51-21. 3-Point Goals — Stetson 7-23 (Plemmons 2-4, Graham 2-4, Miller 1-1, Smith 1-3, Baral 1-4, Harney 0-1, Green 0-1, Pegg 0-2, Andrews 0-3), Notre Dame 9-17 (Grant 2-3, Connaughton 2-3, Atkins 2-4, Jackson 1-1, Burgett 1-2, Beachem 1-3, Vasturia 0-1). Fouled Out — None. Rebounds — Stetson 27 (Green 9), Notre Dame 38 (Sherman 9). Assists — Stetson 15 (Harney 6), Notre Dame 22 (Grant 6). Total Fouls — Stetson 16, Notre Dame 15. A — 7,854. TNoie@SBTinfo.com574-235-6153Twitter: TNoie@NDInsider

Stetson guard Glenn Baral, right, and Notre Dame guard V.J. Beachem chase a loose ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)