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Playing Through The Pain

Nov 12, 2013, 9:03 AM EDT

Zach Auguste locks in on defense in a 80-49 win over Stetson (PHOTO/Marcus Snowden)

Mike Franz, the official 2013-14 men’s basketball beat writer for the In The Paint blog, is currently a sophomore at Holy Cross College. Over the course of the year Mike will bring you insight from within the student section, interviews with Fighting Irish players and stories from inside the team circle. You can follow Mike (and the rest of the Notre Dame student beat writing staff) on twitter at @JrNDBloggers.

On Sunday afternoon, the Notre Dame men’s basketball team hosted the Stetson Hatters for their second official game of the year. Although there were not many students in attendance for this match up, the team gave the same great performance as if it was a sold out crowd, beating the Hatters 80-49.

Controlling the ball and limiting turnovers (seven) were key in the win. The team made a decent improvement in limiting second chance points for the opponent (four today compared to 10 in Friday’s game). Above all else though, the points manufactured from the players coming off the bench was another important aspect of Sunday’s win.

Four of Notre Dame’s bench players combined for 28 total points. Notre Dame basketball has never been known for having much depth in their lineup. Yet with Demtrius Jackson, V.J. Beachem, Austin Burgett, and Zach Auguste, this might change for the Irish in their debut season in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

In this long season, there will be times when the Irish players will have to play through some untimely injuries to help their fellow players to victory. Zach Auguste is the perfect example of this fact.

One month ago today, Zach Auguste suffered a broken left hand and was expected to be out for the first five regular season games of the year. However, Auguste obviously did not get that message and showed his willingness to play through the pain, playing eight minutes in Friday night’s game and scoring a bucket with a brace on his left hand.

In Sunday’s win Auguste proved that he can significantly contribute to the team’s success even while he is still rehabbing his hand. In his 17 minutes played, the Massachusetts native scored an impressive nine points.

Even more impressive was his ability to stay strong in the paint and get rebounds on both ends of the court. Auguste finished the day with two offensive rebounds and three defensive boards.

When asked about getting back into the flow of things, Auguste replied, “I just wanted to go out there and rebound because I know that’s what we’ve been missing. I wanted to go out and score and be aggressive.”

Auguste certainly was aggressive today and his presence on the court certainly added to Notre Dame’s size. The Irish have this entire week off before getting back in action next Sunday as they take on the Indiana State Sycamores at 12:00 p.m. (ET).

If you need reason to come out to see this non-conference game, I will give you three:

1) You can see Eric Atkins become the 54th Notre Dame player to reach 1,000 career points (he is five points away right now).

2) You can see the team go for its 49th straight victory at home in November under Mike Brey.

3) You can see the first of two in-state clashes for the Irish this season, taking on Indiana State next Sunday and Indiana University in December.

About In The Paint

Welcome to In The Paint, the official blog providing in-depth and exclusive access to the Notre Dame basketball programs. With features, videos, photos, commentaries and news from inside the Purcell Pavilion, we are committed to bringing you coverage of the Fighting Irish unlike any you can find elsewhere.

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