Cincinnati, OH – Jerian Grant led five Notre Dame players in double figures with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting as the 17th- ranked Fighting Irish knocked off No. 21 Cincinnati, 66-60, in a Big East battle on Monday at Fifth Third Arena.
Scott Martin knocked down four three-pointers for 12 points, while Jack Cooley added 11 points and eight rebounds for the Fighting Irish (14-1, 2-0 Big East), who have won 12 in a row since a loss to Saint Joseph's on Nov. 16.
Eric Atkins donated 10 points and six assists and Pat Connaughton finished with 10 points and six rebounds in the victory.
"I'm really proud of my team. The toughness that we had to display both physically and mentally against an unbelievable defense, for us to be that efficient against that defense I think really was the difference," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said.
Sean Kilpatrick was the only Bearcats player to score in double figures with 15 points as Cincinnati (13-3, 1-2) has lost two straight since a win over Pittsburgh on New Year's Eve.
After Ge'Lawn Guyn nailed a 3-pointer to give the Bearcats a 47-45 lead with 12:23 to play, Notre Dame seized control of the contest
Grant put home a layup on Notre Dame's next possession, igniting the visitors on a 14-2 outburst. Connaughton finished the surge with a layup, giving the Irish a 59-49 lead with 5:43 to go.
Cincinnati stayed within striking distance down the stretch, and a Cheikh Mbodj slam pulled the hosts to within 64-60 with 23 seconds on the clock. But Connaughton made good on a pair of free throws with 11 seconds left and the Irish held on for the win.
"Notre Dame played a great game so give them a lot of credit," Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said. "It was a great college basketball game, definitely, but I'm not happy with the loss."
The sides traded baskets early on, with a three-point play by Atkins giving the Irish a 9-7 lead with 13:54 to play in the first half. Cincinnati roared back to grab control with a 13-2 burst capped by a JaQuon Parker trey that gave the hosts a 20-11 advantage.
Notre Dame then connected on three consecutive 3-pointers to quickly tie the game at 20-20 with just over five minutes to play before the break.
Cooley split a pair from the line later on to give the Irish a 27-26 edge, and they carried a 32-28 margin into the locker room at halftime.
Notre Dame led by eight, 40-32, early in the second half, but Kilpatrick led a spurt that pulled the Bearcats within 45-44 before Guyn's trey put Cincinnati in front.
The 12 straight victories marks Notre Dame's longest winning streak since the 2006-07 season ... Monday marked the Irish's first true road game of the campaign ... Notre Dame owns a 9-4 advantage in the all-time series with Cincinnati ... The Irish shot 50 percent from the floor while holding the Bearcats to 46.9 percent.