SOUTH BEND – Playing without its leading scorer, Notre Dame got a career day from Eric Atkins, who scored 30 points to lead the Irish to an 87-81 overtime win Sunday over Canisius.
It has been a rough week for the Irish (9-4), who lost an eight-point lead against No. 3 Ohio State, then senior Jerian Grant to an academic violation, and sophomore reserve Cameron Biedscheid to transfer.
Garrick Sherman converted a 3-point play and an offensive putback late in overtime, and Atkins drilled his sixth 3-pointer with 12 seconds left to seal the Irish win. Sherman finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Billy Baron matched his career high with 33 points to lead Canisius (8-5).
Baron’s three-point play with 1:02 left tied the game at 73. In the final minutes, Canisius appeared to grab a loose ball with the shot clock winding down on Notre Dame, but the player stepped out of bounds, giving the ball back to Notre Dame with 28 seconds left and no shot clock. The Irish failed to get a final shot off, sending the game into overtime.
Baron drilled a deep 3-pointer at 16:44 of the second half and another one with a hand in his face four minutes later that put the Golden Griffins up by four.
Notre Dame responded with 3-pointers by Atkins and V.J. Beachem, a New Haven grad, to keep it close, and Steve Vasturia’s 3 gave the Irish their first lead of the second half, 56-54 with 11:32 to go.