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Dominant first half sparks No. 21 Notre Dame basketball romp

Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant heads upcourt during second half an NCAA college basketball game against StetsSunday Nov. 10 2013

Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant heads upcourt during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Stetson, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame won 80-49. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)

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Updated: November 10, 2013 10:12PM

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Jerian Grant and Garrick Sherman scored 15 points each and No. 21 Notre Dame won for the second game in three days, 80-49 over Stetson on Sunday.

Pat Connauhgton added 10 points for the Irish (2-0), while Sherman led the team with nine rebounds. Senior point guard Eric Atkins finished with eight points, leaving him five short of 1,000 for his career.

Reserve Brian Pegg led the Hatters (0-2) with 13 points and Willie Green added eight points and nine rebounds.

The Irish took a double-digit lead less than 5 minutes in as they improved to 48-0 at home in November under coach Mike Brey.

After scoring just 15 points in the first half of their season-opening loss at Clemson on Friday, the Hatters managed just 21 against Notre Dame as they started 1 of 5 from the field with four turnovers in the first 5 minutes. That fueled a 12-0 run that put the Irish out front 17-3, with 10 points coming off Stetson turnovers.

The Hatters, who lost over 64 percent of their scoring from last season and are still looking for some offensive cohesiveness with nine new faces on the roster, got some help from their reserves. Redshirt freshman Brian Pegg came off the bench after Notre Dame’s run and delivered two three-point plays during an 8-0 run to get the deficit down to six points, 7 minutes in. But that was as close as Stetson got the rest of the way.

The Irish, who opened the season Friday with a 74-62 win over Miami of Ohio, answered with their own bench as freshman Demetrius Jackson had a coast-to-coast layup and Austin Burgett scored five straight points to get the lead back to 16 with 9 minutes left in the half. The lead grew to 23 with eight straight points from Grant, who finished the first half with 13.

While the Hatters struggled, shooting just 27 percent (8 for 30) from the field with 10 turnovers in the first half, Notre Dame shot 64 percent (9 for 13) from 3-point range and 61 percent overall from the field.

The second half held little drama as Notre Dame’s lead never dipped below 27 points.

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