Much of Tuesday’s 68-64 double-overtime Notre Dame victory over Clemson revolved around what was going on off the floor with freshman Demetrius Jackson. The prized Irish freshman was not present, not even on the bench in street clothes, for the win, prompting speculation Jackson was considering leaving the school. After the game, coach Mike Brey said he was giving Jackson a timeout from basketball until he improved his “academic habits.” But one the court, the Irish got a much-needed victory using only an eight-man bench that did a commendable job staying out of foul trouble. 1. Overall, the Irish have won nine of their last 10 overtime games, including six straight. The Irish have won only twice in their last seven games and both victories required overtimes. So, what gives? “I don’t know, I mean we have to just take care of business,” forward Zach Auguste said. “We slip up sometimes toward the end but we have to come back and finish toward the end.” From the Irish’s perspective, the game should not have gone to even one overtime, much less two. Ahead 54-49 with 2:20 remaining, the Irish committed three consecutive turnovers and with Clemson trailing 54-53 with 4.8 seconds remaining, Tigers guard Rob Fair made 1 of 2 free throws. Eric Atkins’ long 3-pointer at the buzzer came up short. Then in the overtime, the Irish were ahead 60-58 with 10.4 to play and were inbounding under their own basket. But Clemson’s Landry Nnoko stole Atkins’ inbound pass and went to the free-throw line after Pat Connaughton fouled him. Nnnoko hit both. The Irish turned it over on their next possession and with 0.8 second remaining, an open K.J. McDaniels jump shot missed. Given a third chance in the second overtime, the Irish put those mistakes behind them and sealed a victory. “I think the biggest thing is getting another five minutes was huge for us every single time,” guard Eric Atkins said. “We always feel like we’re going to win in overtime, even if the overtimes keep coming.” 2. One reason the Irish prevailed was because of freshman Steve Vasturia, who hit two 3-pointers in the second overtime and whose confidence is growing by the game. Vasturia finished with 11 points. This comes after Vasturia led a second-half Irish surge at No. 1 Syracuse last week. "Just trying to make an impact,” Vasturia said. “Whether it's knocking down shots or getting loose balls, anything to help us get a win like tonight."
Notre Dame rewind: Winning without Jackson
Chicago Tribune | Feb 12