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Notre Dame 62, Cincinnati 41

The SportsXchange

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Jerian Grant led a balanced attack with 13 points as Notre Dame completed a season sweep of Cincinnati with a 62-41 Big East Conference victory Sunday at Purcell Pavilion.

The Irish (22-6, 10-5 Big East) never trailed as they won their fourth in five games in front of 9,149 fans at Purcell Pavilion.

Tom Knight scored 12 points while Jack Cooley and Eric Atkins each added 11 for Notre Dame.

JaQuon Parker had 12 points for the Bearcats (19-9, 7-8) who shot just 17 of 54 from the field (31.5 percent).

Cincinnati has lost three straight and five of its last six games.

Notre Dame used a 13-2 run over an 8 1/2-minute first-half span to open a 19-6 lead.

Cincinnati struggled with just 3-for-15 shooting (20 percent) in the same stretch, including several misses in the paint. The Bearcats had just one field goal in a span of more than 10 minutes.

The Irish went on to a 29-15 halftime lead as Pat Connaughton hit a baseline 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds showing. Connaughton, Cooley and Knight each had six first-half points.

The Bearcats missed their first four shots and had a turnover to open the second half. Notre Dame's Atkins, meanwhile, hit a short jumper and followed with a baseline 3-pointer to open a game-high 19-point lead at 34-15.

A different Cincinnati team then emerged. The Bearcats responded with an 11-3 surge that cut the Notre Dame lead to 37-26 by the 12:50 mark. The Irish advantage dwindled to single digits at 39-30 on Shaquille Thomas' jumper in the paint.

But a Cooley 3-point play and Grant's two free throws pushed the lead back to double digits at 44-30, the start of an 11-2 run.

Atkins' two free throws with 7:33 to play pushed the lead back to 18 at 50-32 and Cincinnati never got closer than 15 points the rest of the way and had no field goals in the final 4:40.

Notes: Notre Dame also beat Cincinnati 66-60 on Jan. 7 on the Bearcats' home court. ... It's been a wearying recent run for the Irish. Sunday's game was the third in six games for a team had had played six overtime sessions just before the current stretch. Notre Dame's last outing was a 51-42 win over No. 20 Pitt last Monday. ... Cooley remains No. 2 in the nation with 27 double-doubles and led the team with a 14.5 points and 11.1 rebounds prior to facing Cincinnati. ... Parker, the Bearcats senior guard, landed on last week's Big East honor roll after averaging 17 points, six rebounds and four assists in two games. ... Teammate Sean Kilpatrick came in Sunday as the Big East's No. 4 scorer, averaging 17.2 points per game. ... Irish guard Scott Martin was back in uniform and on the bench after missing eight games with a sore knee. ... Cincinnati slipped to 0-5 at South Bend and is 4-10 all-time against Notre Dame. ... Both teams are idle until Saturday when the Bearcats host Connecticut while the Irish are at No. 17 Marquette. Both have two more conference games after that before starting Big East tourney play in New York.

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