South Bend, IN – Jack Cooley scored 14 points and pulled down 13 rebounds to lead No. 22 Notre Dame to an 85-57 win over Kennesaw State on Wednesday.
Jerian Grant also had 14 while Zach Auguste and Pat Connuaghton each dropped in 12 for the Irish (11-1), who improved to 9-0 at home this season. Eric Atkins had nine points and 12 assists in the win.
"That was a tricky game because they were kind of burning on us. It was kind of hard to get away from them but overall we were pretty solid defensively," said Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey. "We were better on the backboard than we were on Monday (against IPFW), and we had a couple spurts where we were able to get out and get some things in transition."
Aaron Anderson poured in a game-high 16 points and Markeith Cummings added 15 for the Owls (1-9), who haven't won since topping South Carolina State 67-65 in overtime on Nov. 12.
"Moving forward I will look at that a lot more to see what we can do to clean up the second half. We are kind of like Charles Dickens' The Tale of Two Cities, but we are the tale of two halves," said Tulsa coach Lewis Preston. "We will play a great first half, bad second half, or a bad first half, and a pretty good second half. So I am trying to find that level of consistency."
Kennesaw State kept it close over the first four minutes of the game as Anderson's jumper knotted it up at 7-7, but Notre Dame used a 9-2 surge to take a 16-9 lead at the 12:18 mark. The Owls, though, scored the game's next six points to pull within 16-14 just over a minute later.
An Atkins layup sparked a 14-2 run to give the Irish a 30-16 advantage with 6:41 left in the first half, but the Owls used a 12-4 burst to go into the break trailing 34-28.
Notre Dame scored the first eight points of the second half for a 42-28 cushion, and led 53-39 by the midway point of the second half. The lead swelled to as much as 76-49 with three minutes left and the Irish pushed its spread to 30 with 26 seconds left. A pair of Brandon Dawson free throws accounted for the final margin.
The Irish shot 61.5 percent (32-for-52) from the floor and went 13-for-14 from the charity stripe ... Notre Dame outrebounded Kennesaw State 36-17 ... Delbert Love had 10 points for the Owls.