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October 28, 2013

Irish cruise; Biedscheid sits


NOTRE DAME, Ind. - As exhibition games go, it was business as usual for Notre Dame, which handed out 29 assists and turned it over just seven times in an efficient 95-69 victory over the University of Indianapolis.

Garrick Sherman led all scorers with 21 points on 10-of-14 shooting to pace an Irish squad that shot 55.6 percent from the field.

Five others scored in double figures, including sophomore Austin Burgett (11) and McDonald's All-American Demetrius Jackson (10) in his Notre Dame debut.

"Our offensive efficiency and sharing the ball has been our hallmark, and I was so pleased that when we played the young guys, they played the same way and played very maturely," said Irish head coach Mike Brey.

"I think it's a good start for us."

Of greater interest was sophomore Cameron Biedscheid sitting on the bench in street clothes without an injury and no mention of academic issues or a possible transfer.

Biedscheid shared a spot on the bench with Tom Knight (back spasms), Zach Auguste (broken left hand) and Eric Katenda (right knee surgery). Biedscheid's situation, however, wasn't clarified until after the game.

"We're going to think about a five-year program for (Biedscheid)," Brey said. "We haven't made a final decision yet. Obviously, we couldn't play him tonight if we're going to do that since he's a second year.

"We may not have a decision this week, but it's something we want to talk about with him and his family. It may be the best thing for him to get older, get stronger, academically…all of the above. Tim Abromaitis did it his second year. It's an ongoing discussion. We'll probably make a final decision next week."

Brey said preserving a year of Biedscheid's eligibility wouldn't be under discussion if the three freshman guards - Jackson, Steve Vasturia and swingman V.J. Beachem - had not placed themselves in the running for playing time during pre-season drills. Jackson was a given, but Vasturia and Beachem are in the mix. Vasturia scored eight points on 3-of-4 shooting.

Others in double figures for the Irish were Jerian Grant (14), Eric Atkins (13) and Pat Connaughton (12).

"Whenever we get that many assists and that few turnovers, that means we're playing very well as a team," said Atkins, who finished with seven assists. "We're moving the ball, we're being unselfish and people are hitting shots. That's a great way to gauge how well we're playing as a team."

Sherman's presence inside was essential without Knight and Katenda.

"It was one of those things where I had to step up as one of the only bigs left," Sherman said. "We have such a great team, it's easy to play with these guys."

Sherman had plenty of help on the boards with Burgett adding six rebounds, Grant seven and Connaughton nine.

Brey went with the starting lineup of Sherman, Connaughton, Burgett, Grant and Atkins.

The Greyhounds, a Division II team from the Great Lakes Valley Conference with four starters returning from a 20-9 squad, led most of the first six-plus minutes of the game. But the Irish went on a 22-2 run to pull away late in the first half.

Reece Cheatham led the Greyhounds with 14 points and six rebounds. Indianapolis out-rebounded the Irish, 40-36, and had a 12-to-4 advantage in second-chance points.

"The first 10 minutes we played them pretty well," said Indianapolis head coach Stan Gouard. "I tip my hat to Notre Dame. They do a great job of moving the basketball. They're unselfish and they're well-coached. Coach Brey has done a great job with those guys."

All four freshmen scored in the first half, starting with Vasturia, who nailed a three-pointer on his first offensive possession, and then added another trey less than a minute later.

Beachem scored his first basket on a driving finger roll at the 5:13 mark of the first half. Austin Torres scored at the 1:06 mark, and Jackson scored underneath against 6-foot-7 Brennan McElroy with 44 seconds left in the first half.

"It feels great to get the jitters out, and also to play against somebody else," Jackson said. "I was definitely nervous in my first game. But my teammates helped me keep my head high."


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