No. 10 Notre Dame prevails when Clemson game-winner clanks
Jerian Grant added another chapter to his family's history at Clemson. Not exactly the kind the Tigers were accustomed to, either.
Grant, whose brother, father and uncle all played in front of cheering Clemson crowds at Littlejohn Coliseum, scored 22 points to lead No. 10 Notre Dame to a 60-58 win over the Tigers on Tuesday night.
Grant remembered attending games at the arena to watch older brother Jerai play for Clemson from 2007-11. His father, Harvey, spent a season at the school in the 1980s before transferring to Oklahoma and uncle Horace is a member of the school's Hall of Fame after his four-year career.
"I think it meant more," the youngest Grant said of the game. "Obviously with my family, I wanted to perform pretty well."
Grant certainly did that, taking over when the Irish (22-4, 10-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) trailed 56-52 in the final four minutes after Rod Hall's three-point play.
Grant followed with two foul shots, then stole the ball to lead to Demetrius Jackson's tying layup. After Jackson's basket put Notre Dame up for good 58-56, Grant hit a fadeaway jumper for Notre Dame's final points.
More importantly than a good showing for the family, Grant wanted to get Notre Dame back on track after its 90-60 loss to No. 4 Duke on Saturday.
"We're coming off two road losses and we wanted to get our swagger back on the road," he said. "Clemson is a tough environment. We needed this one."
Grant also led Notre Dame with five assists and three steals, plus he went 7-of-7 from the foul line.
Blossomgame led Clemson with 17 points and tied his career high with 14 rebounds. It was his seventh game this season with double figure points and rebounds.
Clemson had two solid opportunities to tie or go ahead in the final 30 seconds. But Blossomgame missed a driving layup and Damarcus Harrison's 3-pointer as time ran out hit off the rim.
"We've just got to make winning plays," Harrison said. "I think we made enough, but we came up a little short."
Notre Dame is second in the ACC, scoring 80 points a game, yet looked like it would fall victim to Clemson's style of tough defense and grinding out each possession before scoring.
The dynamic Grant pulled the Irish out of that funk in the final four minutes for the win to match the program's best 26-game start last accomplished in 1980-81.
Pat Connaughton had 14 points, including three of Notre Dame's six 3-pointers. Jackson finished with 11 points.
Harrison scored 15 points for Clemson.
Both teams entered hoping to bounce back from disappointing losses.
Notre Dame's 30-point loss to Duke was its most lopsided loss since 1999. Clemson missed its chance to jump into the upper part of the ACC standings last Sunday, fading down the stretch in a 56-45 loss at Miami that ended the Tigers' four-game win streak.
After it was announced that Notre Dame coach Mike Brey had won 10 or more conference games in 10 of his 15 seasons at the school, a smiling Brey shouted "Renegotiate."
Clemson coach Brad Brownell said it looked like Hall was fouled on the Tigers' last play, yet officials let things go. "Looked like our guy got clipped there. Didn't get the call," Brownell said.
Notre Dame: The Irish hadn't played a game in state of South Carolina since the NCAA tournament regionals in Greenville in 2002. Notre Dame opened with a victory over Charlotte before falling to Duke in the next round.
Clemson: The Tigers have held their past five opponents to less than 40 percent shooting, the first time they've accomplished that in 62 seasons in the ACC. That streak ended in this one as Notre Dame shot 43.1 percent.