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Syracuse's Grant wins family battle

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Feb 05 2013 10:13:50 AM CST
basketball on court

iStock / 33ft

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -

Syracuse freshman forward Jerami Grant walked out of the Carrier Dome with family bragging rights.

Those will be cashed in much farther down the road, however, if it all.

More importantly, Grant was a catalyst in a key bounce-back win for his basketball family.

Grant sparked his team with a career-high 14 points and added six rebounds, and Syracuse forward C.J. Fair dropped in 18 points and snagged 10 boards to help No. 9 Syracuse push aside No. 25 Notre Dame 63-47 Monday in the Carrier Dome.

Jerami Grant's older brother, junior guard Jerian Grant, scored a team-high 15 points for the Fighting Irish (18-5, 6-4 Big East).

Jerami got his team off to a strong start, scoring 10 points in a first half that ended with the Orange up 30-24 The Orange used that momentum to pull away in a second half.

"Every once in awhile at the free-throw line, we'd talk some trash. Or just walking up and down the court. But not as much as we probably expected," Jerami said of the by-play between him and his brother. "This is our first regulation game against each other. We haven't played one-on-one since we were like 8 years old. I'm definitely gonna talk a lot of trash when I get out of here and talk to everybody.''

Jerian advised him to hold off on that for now.

"This was a tough one to take,'' Jerian said. "This is just one game. We still got a whole season left."

Syracuse (19-3, 7-2) snapped a two-game losing streak, and the Orange earned its 36th consecutive win in the Dome, the longest active home winning streak in Division I.

"When you lose two in a row in this league, you get nervous. Everybody does,'' said Orange coach Jim Boeheim.

Grant, Fair and center Rakeem Christmas (12 points) were part of a dominant Syracuse front line that combined for 44 points and 21 rebounds and helped shut down Fighting Irish center Jack Cooley, who was held to a quiet 10 points and 11 rebounds.

"We couldn't get the ball down deep enough,'' Fighting Irish coach Mike Brey said of feeding Cooley. "Those are the nights we don't have much success. They had lost two in a row and were pumped up."

Jerami Grant capped his 10-point first half with a driving layup at the horn that gave Syracuse a six-point edge at intermission. Earlier, the Orange had nursed a 16-15 lead before creating some breathing room with an 8-2 run.

Syracuse's Grant sparked that stretch by dropping in a layup off a fast break, but Notre Dame's Pat Connaughton answered with a layup.

Fair drilled a foul shot for Syracuse and then sent the Orange ahead 21-17 with a rebound dunk off a miss by Trevor Cooney. Brandon Triche rolled in a layup, was fouled and sank his free throw to pad the Syracuse cushion to 24-17 with 3:25 left in the half.

The Irish, the Big East's best three-point shooting team at 39.6 percent, had no counterpunch in that category Monday. Notre Dame hit just 30 percent of its three-point tries, at 6-for-20.

"We got about 20 threes (attempts). About 18 of them were good looks," Jerian said.

"I think the big thing with Notre Dame is you have to guard their three-point shooters,'' Boeheim said. "You can't let them get set.''

Syracuse salted the game away with a 9-0 run early in the second half. Fair sank a jumper to push Syracuse ahead 36-28, and with 12:53 left, Christmas dunked after a rebound.

Cooney then hit a 3-pointer, and Christmas again tallied from down low to push the margin to 43-28 with 11:03 remaining.

"I was worried about their guards,'' Brey said. "Their front line did damage to us.''

NOTES: Brey is tied with former St. John's coach Lou Carnesecca for fourth place on the Big East's career wins list at 139. Brey is one of 10 coaches in league history with 100 conference wins. ... Notre Dame's senior class needs eight victories to become the program's winningest class. The class of 2011 compiled 96 victories. ... Syracuse holds a 25-19 edge in its series with Notre Dame, but the Irish won last year's game in South Bend, 68-57. The Orange played that game without center Fab Melo, who was academically ineligible. On Monday night, Syracuse played without another big man, center DaJuan Coleman, who is out about a month after undergoing left knee surgery. Orange forward James Southerland also sat out, missing his fifth game in a row because of an eligibility issue.