ND in Elite 8 for first time in 36 years

CLEVELAND – Notre Dame’s 38-18 run after falling behind by a point with 16:38 remaining propelled the Irish to a 81-70 victory over No. 7 seed Wichita State. The three NCAA tournament victories are the most since 1978.

CLEVELAND – Notre Dame’s magical season lives on.

Demetrius Jackson led a spirited second half effort, scoring 10 points within the first 7:02 to overcome Notre Dame’s first deficit of the night en route to an 81-70 victory over Wichita State to advance to the Elite Eight.

It’s Notre Dame’s first Elite Eight appearance since Digger Phelps led the Irish in 1979.

Notre Dame will play the winner of  No. 1 seed and undefeated Kentucky vs. No. 5 seed West Virginia Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena.

Trailing by a point with 16:38 remaining, the Irish went on a 19-8 run to take a 56-46 lead, and then expanded it to 19 points as Notre Dame heated up from three-point range.

A 38-18 run did in the Shockers, whose season ends with a 30-5 mark.

Notre Dame made three of its first four three-pointers to start the game, but then missed their last seven of the first half. The Irish then went ballistic with the offensive firepower provided by all five starters -- Demetrius Jackson, Jerian Grant, Pat Connaughton, Steve Vasturia and Zach Auguste.

The victory marks the first time the Irish have won as many as three NCAA tournament games since their run to the Final Four under Phelps in 1978.

Notre Dame shot 55.6 percent from the field and made 9-of-19 from three-point range. Wichita State gave up 11 three-pointers to Indiana in its first game of the NCAA tournament.

Jackson finished with 20 points. Connaughton had 16 points and 10 rebounds. Auguste and Vasturia each scored 15 points.  Grant – who struggled throughout the first 30 minutes of the game – came up big down the stretch and tallied nine points.

After losing the lead for the first time at the 16:38 mark of the second half, the Irish got a boost from a pair of three-pointers by Jackson and Vasturia. The Irish then went on a 17-6 run to take a 10-point lead with 12:38 remaining.

Notre Dame made six of its first seven shots to take a 15-5 lead at the first TV timeout. But after converting 3-of-4 from three-point range, the Irish missed their last seven of the first half. They were 6-of-8 from three-point range in the second half.

The Irish never trailed in the first half. Notre Dame’s largest lead was 13 points (20-7), but the Irish would score just 13 points over the final 13:35 as Wichita State’s Darius Carter scored early, and then Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet began playing true to form.

Notre Dame held Wichita State to 10-of-28 shooting in the first half, including 2-of-9 from three-point range. Connaughton had seven of Notre Dame’s 19 rebounds in the first 20 minutes.

VanVleet led the Shockers in scoring with 25 points, followed by Carter’s 22. Wichita State was just 3-of-18 from three-point range.

With his nine points, Grant moved into 11th place on the Irish all-time scoring list with 1,724.

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