Guard Jerian Grant scored 25 points, including two key late baskets, as Notre Dame pulled away in the final 94 seconds to upend Delaware 80-75 in an opening round game at the Gotham Classic at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Ind.
The Irish (6-2) saw a double-digit second-half lead dwindle to 70-69 after a layup by Blue Hens guard Jarvis Threatt.
But Grant hit back-to-back jumpers in a 26-second span and center Garrick Sherman made two free throws to restore a comfortable seven-point lead with 38 seconds left.
Threatt collected 23 points and 10 rebounds while guards Davon Usher and Kyle Anderson each had 19 points as Delaware (5-4) saw a three-game winning streak snapped.
Guard Pat Connaughton added 21 points and 11 rebounds while Sherman had 19 points for the Irish.
Notre Dame hit its first four shots and opened an early 12-2 lead. The Blue Hens rallied midway through the half and led 34-29 before the Irish scored 13 unanswered points in a four-minute span on the way to a 42-35 lead at halftime.
Grant had a game-high 15 first-half points to pace Notre Dame.
The Irish maintained a lead that fluctuated between seven and 12 points early in the second half until the Blue Hens battled back to within a point.
The game was a reunion for Irish coach Mike Brey and Delaware. Brey coached the Blue Hens from 1995 to 2000. Saturday's match was the first between the programs.
The Gotham Classic features 10 teams playing five games before a Dec. 21 showcase finale at Madison Square Garden that features Ohio State against the Notre Dame.
Saturday's game was the first of three within five days for the Irish. Notre Dame hosts North Dakota State on Wednesday. Delaware plays North Dakota State on Monday at Fargo and travels to Ohio State next Wednesday.