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Irish Insights

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Basketball notebook: Irish freshman enjoys big game

SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame freshman Cameron Biedscheid didn't disappoint in his first big-game college atmosphere.

The 6-foot-7 forward scored 10 points in the Irish's 64-50 victory over No. 8 Kentucky on Thursday night in Purcell Pavilion.

And coach Mike Brey said he expected nothing less out of Biedscheid.

"He's a bright-lights guy," Brey said. "He rebounded for us too. He got us some big rebounds. We ran an out-of-bounds play for him, he sticks a jump shot. I just feel good about him coming off and scoring, and he feels he belongs. And what's more important, the veteran guys feel, come on in here we need him."

Biedscheid was one of four players to score in double digits for the Irish. Guard Eric Atkins scored a team-high 16, and forward Jack Cooley and guard Jerian Grant each had 13.

Cooley also had 11 rebounds to give him his sixth double-double of the season.

Beidscheid said he enjoyed playing in front of the 9,149 fans in one of the highlight games of the SEC/Big East Challenge.

"It's really just a confidence booster for our entire team, just winning this game really makes a statement for us," Beidscheid said. "That crowd was great. I loved the crowd."

Atkins keeps things afloat

Notre Dame only made four of its first 12 shots, but Atkins was there to carry the team at the start.

The junior scored the team's first six points as he shot 6 for 7 from the floor and had 13 points in the first half.

"He knows when we need to score it," Brey said of Atkins. "I just love how he is playing. In the balance of running our team, scoring the ball and then guarding a really good player in (Kentucky's Archie) Goodwin, staying in front of him all night was a challenge."

Hitting the boards

Notre Dame knew it had to do a good job against Kentucky's young, talented forwards when it came to rebounding.

The Irish won that battle, outrebouding the Wildcats 33-27 and limiting Kentucky to only seven second-chance points.

"I challenged us two days ago, I said, 'You know our frontline, I know you want a do over after the St. Joe thing,' " Brey said, referring to Notre Dame's 79-70 overtime loss to St. Joseph's on Nov. 16. "I think the three of them (forwards Jack Cooley, Garrick Sherman and Scott Martin) all shook their heads yes. To keep (Kentucky) to one-and-done tonight was a key.

"Jack, Sherm and Scott really were good in there rebounding the ball for us, and that was a big key to the game."