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Notre Dame holds on for win over Cameron

by Mike Nutter

SPORTS WRITER

CLARKSBURG -- In a game that it seemed in complete control of at the beginning, it wasn't until a last-second, desperation, full-court heave did Notre Dame finally have victory in hand.

The Irish survived a frantic fourth-quarter rally by Cameron to win its second consecutive game, 49-48 over the Dragons.

"We would get a lead and then rush some shots or turn the ball over," Notre Dame coach Mark Starkey said. "We had a chance at some easy conversions inside, but just couldn't put the ball in the basket."

The Irish (2-1) built an 11-2 lead late in the first quarter and later an 11-point lead before taking a 27-19 lead at halftime.

Notre Dame point guard Timmy Swiger had three first-half steals and helped pressure the Dragons (1-1) into 14 first-half turnovers.

Twice in the second half, the Irish built leads of at least 10 points, but both times Cameron had an answer.

Trailing 41-32 with 7:01 to play, the Dragons went on an 11-2 run capped by Brandon Thayer's jumper which tied the game at 43-43 with 3:20 to play. The teams traded baskets, and Cameron again tied the game with a 3-pointer from the left corner by Logan Wendt with :34 to play. Notre Dame's Steven Kroll converted on one of two free throws with :17.5 left for a 49-48 lead. The Dragons had one last shot, but Jake Lockett stripped a driving Thayer and the Irish held on for the victory.

"I thought (Cameron) would go right inside and try to get the basket or draw the foul," Starkey said. "Jake did a real good job and did a good job all night on the boards."

Lockett finished with a game-high 11 rebounds. Justin Kroll led Notre Dame with 13 points, followed by Lockett with 10. Steven Kroll and freshman James Douglas each added eight points, while Swiger handed out five assists.

Jacob Neeley led the Dragons with 13 points, while Keith Burge and Logan Wendt added 11 and 10 points, respectively.

"It seemed like we just had to keep coming back," Cameron coach Jack Hart said. "We had too many turnovers early on, but we kept battling back. These guys showed me something tonight. I think we'll be all right."

Sports writer Mike Nutter can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at sports@exponent-telegram.com

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