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November 21, 2012

Irish gobble up Colonials

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Garrick Sherman wasn't happy with the way he played in the Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic over the weekend.

He remedied the situation Wednesday night against George Washington.

Sherman tossed in 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds off the bench as Notre Dame (4-1) bounced back from a disappointing split in Brooklyn and ended a two-game slide against the Atlantic 10 with a 65-48 victory over the Colonials.

Notre Dame closed the 2011-12 season with a loss to Xavier in the NCAA tournament, and then fell to St. Joseph's Friday night in Brooklyn.

"I talked to coach earlier in the week about being more patient," said Sherman, who made 8-of-10 shots from the field. "I tried to just take what was there instead of trying to predetermine my move."

Sherman entered the game at the 14:06 mark of the first half and scored eight points in a 1:23 span. Jerian Grant finished with 13 points - 12 in the first half - as no Irish player other than those two scored more than two points in the first 20 minutes.

"Garrick needed a game like that to bounce back," said Irish head coach Mike Brey, who came into the post-game press conference wearing a No. 15 George Washington jersey - the number he wore as captain and MVP of the 1982 Colonial squad.

"He didn't play as well as he wanted to in New York, and he gave us a good lift off the bench. It takes some pressure off us when he can come in and score like that."

The Irish benefited from George Washington's 32.8 percent shooting from the field. While Brey credited his team defense for the Colonials' poor shooting night, GW head coach Mike Lonergan put it more on his squad's inability to finish around the basket.

"I thought we did a pretty good job of getting the ball inside," Lonergan said. "We just couldn't score. Give them credit. They're big and they're good position defenders. We missed some lay-ups. I don't know if it was nerves or what, but it was contagious."

George Washington thought it was ready to defend against Notre Dame's length - particularly Jack Cooley - but Sherman was another story.

"We were really worried about Cooley and I guess we weren't familiar enough with Sherman," Lonergan said. "He just killed us."

Still, Notre Dame never did quite put the Colonials away. The Irish led 32-21 at halftime, and their lead hovered in the 11-to-15-point range throughout most of the second half. Notre Dame's largest lead - 20 points - didn't come until 36 seconds remained.

Cooley finished with eight points and eight rebounds while Eric Atkins stuffed the stat sheet with six points, seven rebounds, nine assists and three steals.

Villanova transfer Isaiah Armwood scored 12 points on 6-of-15 shooting for George Washington. But no other Colonial scored in double digits outside of Armwood.

The Irish held GW to just 2-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc while the Irish managed just 3-of-13 from three-point range and 6-of-11 from the foul line. Notre Dame compensated by out-scoring the Colonials, 18-2, on points off turnovers while holding a 30-15 edge in bench scoring, thanks mainly to Sherman.

"Tonight, I tried to be patient and efficient, and I did a fairly decent job of that," Sherman said.

Notre Dame returns to action Saturday afternoon when they host St. Francis (Pa.) at 1:00 p.m. ET.

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