Notebook: Notre Dame hoops defense dominates Butler's Kellen Dunham

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

The top assignment of the Notre Dame scouting report in Saturday night's NCAA Tournament tussle with Butler was to make Butler guard Kellen Dunham work for everything he had to get and not allow him any good looks from 3.

Mission more than accomplished.

Butler’s leading scorer coming in at 16.7 per game, Dunham was held to eight points on 2-of-13 shooting in Notre Dame's 67-64 overtime victory. He finished 0-for-8 from inside the arc while trying to solve a rotation of different defenders that included Jerian Grant and Vasturia.

“We were just trying to find the right combination,” Vasturia said. “Everybody stepped up on the defensive end and we got those big stops. No matter who we were on, we all locked in.

“We really battled.”

Dunham went scoreless in the first half.

Clutch captain

Nothing fell from 3 for the majority of Saturday’s game for Irish senior captain Pat Connaughton, who missed his first five attempts before squeezing off No. 6 with the game tied and just over six minutes left in overtime.

Connaughton’s wing 3 gave the Irish a lead they would never relinquish.

“When he lined that one up, I knew it was going in,” Brey said. “He is the cruelest of competitors. Nice guy off the court, but he will cut your heart out on it. He’s set a great tone for us.”

Tourney tidbits

• Notre Dame has won seven in a row and 10 of its last 11. After going 67 days during the regular season with only one loss, the Irish have lost only once (to Syracuse on Feb. 24) in the last 42 days.

• Saturday was the first NCAA tournament overtime win in school history. Notre Dame is 1-3 in overtime tourney games. The last time Notre Dame played an overtime tournament game was March 8, 1980 against Missouri.

• Connaughton had a career-high five blocked shots against Butler.

• Irish power forward Zach Auguste tied his career high Saturday with 13 rebounds.

• Grant played all 85 minutes in the two weekend games. He finished Sunday with 16 points, five assists and five rebounds.

• One ticket at center court of Quicken Loans Arena for Thursday’s Midwest Region semifinal two-game session was going for $1599.96 Sunday morning on StubHub.

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