Notre Dame 58, Evansville 49

The SportsXchange

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Jack Cooley collected 19 points and 11 rebounds while Scott Martin hauled down 17 boards as Notre Dame beat Evansville 58-49 in Saturday's season opener for both teams at Purcell Pavilion.

Cooley, a senior forward, scored Notre Dame's first nine points as the Irish (1-0) trailed only in the opening minutes.

Colt Ryan had 15 points for the Purple Aces (0-1) while Ryan Sawvell added 10 points and 11 rebounds. Jerian Grant added 11 points for the Irish (1-0).

Saturday's meeting, which served as the first of Notre Dame's two preliminary round games in the Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic, was the 10th all-time between the intra-state rivals but first since 1992-93.

The Irish are 13-0 in season openers under coach Mike Brey.

Notre Dame led 28-21 after 20 minutes and extended the lead to double digits after Garrick Sherman's two free throws made it 37-26 with 14:16 showing in the second half.

The lead reached 13 points 4 minutes later after Grant's layup opened a 43-30 Irish advantage.

The big edge didn't last. Evansville closed the gap to 43-36 after Colt Ryan's baseline 3-pointer with 7:22 left in regulation but got no closer.

Notre Dame shot 40 percent from the field (18 for 45) while Evansville shot just 19 for 61 (31.3 percent). The Irish outrebounded the Purple Aces 44-35 but had 13 turnovers to just eight for the visitors.

In the first half, the Irish opened a 14-4 lead thanks to a 10-0 run capped by Grant's 3-pointer. The Aces replied with a 7-0 surge to briefly cut the deficit to three after Jordan Nelson's 3-pointer with 11:21 showing.

But Notre Dame forward Cameron Biedscheid hit back-to-back buckets to help restore a cushion at 18-11 and Evansville never got within five points as the clock ticked down towards halftime.

Notes: Brey had never faced Evansville during his coaching career before Saturday. ... Notre Dame's CVC play continues Monday at home against Monmouth. The Irish move on to final rounds next Friday and Saturday at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. ... Notre Dame's Cooley is a first-team preseason Big East pick. The Irish are tabbed to finish third. ... Notre Dame leads the all-time series against Evansville 6-4. The Purple Aces last beat the Irish 74-56 in 1991-92 on their home court ... Evansville's Ryan is a preseason Missouri Valley Conference first teamer and gained top all-conference honors in 2011-12 after averaging a team-high 20.5 points per game. ... Evansville is coming off a 16-16 overall record, its best effort in 13 years.
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