SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Jerian Grant scored a career-high 26 points to lead No. 21 Notre Dame to a 74-62 win over Miami (Ohio) in the season opener for both squads Friday night.
Notre Dame jumped out to a big lead early, going up 21-6 midway through the first half on a baseline jumper by sophomore forward Zach Auguste.
But Miami kept the game competitive by playing tight man-to-man defense and hustling for rebounds and loose balls.
Sophomore guard Reggie Johnson led the Redhawks with 22 points. His jumper with 3:39 left in the first half cut the Irish lead to 32-27. After Notre Dame regained some momentum, Johnson's 3 with 36 seconds left in the half cut the lead to 39-32 at the break.
Grant was 5 of 8 from 3-point range.
Notre Dame, running a perimeter-focused offense this season, was outrebounded 30-27. But Miami shot just 43 percent shooting from the field, including 27 percent from 3-point range.
Miami started the second half with a step-back 3 by freshman Jaryd Eustace, trimming the lead to five. Eustace's ability to step out and hit jump shots, along with Michigan graduate student transfer Blake McLimans, a 6-foot-10 center with outside range, largely prevented the Irish from playing more than one big man at a time. Point guard Eric Atkins pulled down five rebounds, second only to forward/guard Pat Connaughton on the team.
Notre Dame made adjustments at the half to start keying on Johnson, who scored 15 of his 22 points in the first half.
While Grant quieted down a bit in the second half, he made big plays when needed down the stretch, including a jumper with 6 minutes left that extended the Irish lead to 61-51.
Tom Knight added 13 points for Notre Dame and Connaughton had 11.
Grant, voted to the pre-season All-ACC team, stretched the Irish lead to 16 with 4:09 to play when he was fouled on a fastbreak layup and converted the three-point play.