Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2014

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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BY ANDREW OWENS N otre Dame completed a tour of the Colosseum, a visit to the Vati- can and a swim in the Adriatic Sea during its two-week Italian tour this summer, and even found time to play some basketball. The Irish, fresh off their first losing season since the 1998-99 campaign, chose perhaps the perfect offseason to take advantage of an NCAA rule allow- ing one foreign trip every four years. Following the difficult introduction to the Atlantic Coast Conference, and with questions at point guard and in the frontcourt while welcoming fifth- year senior Jerian Grant back into the fold following a semester-long academic suspension, head coach Mike Brey used the trip as a valuable teaching opportu- nity. The program also benefited from an additional 10 practices used prior to the trip. The Irish opened exhibition play with a 102-48 victory over Umbria Basketball School Aug. 8. Sophomore guard Steve Vasturia led the Irish with 17 points, while three other players joined him in double figures — Grant with 16, senior guard/forward Pat Connaughton with 16 and sophomore forward V.J. Beachem with 12. Connaughton grabbed nine rebounds, while junior forward Zach Auguste and freshman forward Bonzie Colson added seven each. The Irish shot 54.3 percent from the field and 46.2 percent from be- yond the arc. On Aug. 9, Notre Dame defeated Adriatic Sea Tritons 90-59. Auguste re- corded a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds in the victory. Con- naughton scored 16 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out three assists. Adriatic represented the most talented opponent the Irish faced in the four- game exhibition series, but Notre Dame jumped out to a 22-10 lead after one quarter and never looked back. Sophomore guard Demetrius Jackson, who frustrated fans with his play as a freshman but will be depended upon as the floor general this season, scored six points and grabbed eight rebounds. Auguste recorded his second straight double-double with 27 points and 11 Ciao, Italia Following a disappointing 15‑17 finish a year ago, the Irish benefited from four exhibition games in Italy in early August

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