In the ten Big East games prior to No. 25 Notre Dame’s five-overtime thriller against No. 11 Louisville, Garrick Sherman had only appeared in six and averaged two points in just over 10 minutes per game.
Saturday night, though, he was just what the Irish needed.
His 17 points came all in the the second overtime and beyond, coming in for Big East Player of the Year candidate Jack Cooley, who fouled out with 6:54 left in regulation. At the time, it appeared the Irish would be in trouble without Cooley for the remainder of regulation, not even knowing yet that there would eventually be 30 minutes of game to be played.
Notre Dame was nearly even in the rebounding column with Louisville Saturday, but would not have been without Sherman’s important six, including four on the offensive glass that turned into six second-chance points. In hand with that, he was efficient. His 7-of-10 from the floor was the most efficient mark of any Notre Dame player on the night.
Sherman, a Michigan State transfer, had shown flashes of his ability to contribute earlier this year. He narrowly missed a double-double with 22 points and nine rebounds against Monmouth on Nov. 12, then followed that up just over a week later with 18 points and seven rebounds against George Washington.
Did his performance earn him some more time in the regular rotation? We’ll see. But at least for one night, he came through in a big spot.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_
Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.
The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.
It wasn’t pretty.
And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.
Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.
The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.
But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.
Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: