St. Joseph's 79, Notre Dame 70 (OT)

The SportsXchange

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Saint Joseph's erased a six-point deficit with 3:46 remaining in regulation before making the plays needed to beat Notre Dame, 79-70 in overtime late Friday night in the semifinals of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Barclays Center.

Five Hawks scored in double figures led by a 21-point, 16-rebound effort from Ronald Roberts, who also scored his team's first seven points in overtime.

The game ended at 11:59 p.m.

St. Josesph's advances to Saturday's championship game against Florida State, which ran away from Brigham Young 88-70 in Friday's first semifinal.

Notre Dame's Jack Cooley delivered his 15th career double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds before fouling out with 1:26 left in overtime. Eric Atkins added his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 assists.

Each team had a chance to win it with a possession and rebound late in regulation but couldn't convert.

More efficient on offense in the second half, Notre Dame led by six, 59-53, with 8:17 remaining following a Scott Martin dunk.

Notre Dame, ranked No. 20 this week, features five starters off last season's team and believes it can make a run at a Big East regular season championship for the first time in school history.

But in the first half, no Irish player could guard Roberts, who led Saint Joseph's with 11 points - many of those on dunks - as the Hawks took a 37-36 lead at intermission.

Martin, in his sixth collegiate season, had 11 for Notre Dame.

The Irish scored the game's first eight points before sputtering on offense, which seemed to affect their defense. Saint Joseph's turned the first half into a dunk-fest with five. That allowed the Hawks to flip the early deficit to lead twice by as many as five.

Saint Joseph's shot 51.9 percent in the first half. Notre Dame shot 40 percent but stayed close by hitting 7 of 13 attempts from 3-point range.

Notes: Saint Joseph's played without guard Carl Jones, its leading scorer last season, who was serving the third game of a three-game suspension for a violation of university community standards. ... Friday's game started a stretch of five of the next seven games away from home for the Hawks. ... Saturday will cap an Irish run of four games in eight days to start the season. ... Notre Dame was picked in preseason to finish third in the Big East, with one first-place vote. Saint Joseph's was picked to win the Atlantic 10, which will hold its postseason tournament at Barclays Center. ... Friday was the first time Notre Dame and Saint Joseph's had met since a 68-65 Irish victory on Dec. 29, 1992 in the Sugar Bowl Tournament. ...Areas of Brooklyn are still without power two weeks after Super Storm Sandy.
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