November 28, 2018 / 2:54 AM / 3 months ago

Irish hold off Illini in ACC-Big Ten Challenge

D.J. Harvey broke loose from a shooting slump for a career-high 19 points, and T.J. Gibbs also had 19 to lead Notre Dame to a 76-74 victory Tuesday over Illinois in an ACC-Big Ten Challenge game at South Bend, Ind.

The Fighting Irish (6-1) led by 13 with 6:30 left before the Illini got within one in the closing seconds. Illinois’ Trent Frazier had a chance to win it at the buzzer but missed on a 3-point attempt.

Aaron Jordan put up a career-best 23 points and Giorgi Bezhanishvili scored a career-high 22 points for the Illini (2-5).

The Irish seemingly pulled away with 14 straight points, part of a 20-4 run that turned what had been a close contest into a one-sided affair.

The game featured 44 fouls and 54 free throws.

Illinois was without reserve guard Tevian Jones, who was suspended indefinitely after a violation of team rules. A 6-foot-7, 205-pound freshman, Jones is averaging 3.2 points and 1.7 rebounds a game.

The first half featured nine lead changes and 12 ties. Illinois led by as many as seven, Notre Dame by as many as four.

The Irish were coming off a game in which they scored a season-high 95 points Saturday in a 25-point win over DePaul. Offense was easy then. Not so much against the Illini.

Illinois made its first visit to Notre Dame since 1955, when the Irish played in the long-since-gone Fieldhouse on the other side of campus.

The Tuesday game closed a seven-game home stand to start the season for Notre Dame, its longest such streak to start a year since 1986. Four of those games were against teams from the state of Illinois. The Irish now leave South Bend for their next three games, stating Dec. 4 against Oklahoma in the Jimmy V Classic at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Next up for Illinois is an early-season stretch of Big Ten Conference games starting Sunday at Nebraska.

—Field Level Media

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