Notre Dame faced off against the St. John\’s Red Storm in historic Madison Square Garden Tuesday night. The Irish expecting to roll all over the young and inexperienced St. John’s team played perhaps one of their sloppiest games of the season. Whether it was missed layups, turnovers, silly fouls or ill-advised shots, Notre Dame did everything they could to lose this ball game.
Notre Dame’s issues began when Jack Cooley got in foul trouble early on in the 1st half. This continued at the 15 minute mark when Cooley got his 3rd foul. After that, Cooley did not play with the same tenacity that he has in his career at Notre Dame. He finished with 10 points and 5 rebounds.
One of the biggest surprises of the evening was that Notre Dame went with Senior Forward Tom Knight instead of Garrick Sherman in his standard 7 man rotation. Knight acquitted himself well. He had 6 points, 3 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Around the 10 minute mark, Notre Dame trailed by 12 points. This is when the Fighting Irish began their rally. With 5:02 left, the Irish had tied up the ball game. This rally was lead by Notre Dame’s backcourt. Notre Dame’s leading scorer was Eric Atkins who had 32 points. He also had 4 steals and 3 assists. His running mate, Jerian Grant, had 12 points and 4 assists.
The game was back and forth in the final 5 minutes but St. John’s prevailed in the end with great defense. They blocked Notre Dame’s last few attempts to tie the game. The most telling statistic of the evening was the assist to turnover ratio. Notre Dame is normally one of the best in the country in this category. However, the Irish were 11 to 13 in tonight’s contest.