Irish not challenged much by Dartmouth

IrishEyes.com
Posted Dec 10, 2011


Work it inside to Jack Cooley. Rebound opponent’s miss. Repeat. This was the formula as Notre Dame won its 26th straight home game in front of a sparse end-of-semester crowd on Saturday night.

Notre Dame (8-4) didn’t need a great deal of offense from the outside, but got enough in the second half for some semblance of balance.

Mostly, though, it was the Cooley show. The 6-foot-9 junior scored 22 on 9-of-11 shooting and made all four of his free throws. He added nine rebounds and four blocked shots.

Alex Dragicevich found the range from outside in the second half, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers on the way to 15 points on the night.

“Alex is a crafty big guard,” Brey said. “I think he’s had a really good week feeling like a Big East player.”

Notre Dame made just three 3-pointers in 20 attempts from beyond the line against Dartmouth (2-6).

Joey Brooks was active and effective throughout the night coming off the bench, finishing with 13 points. Tom Knight was also solid inside with eight points.

Notre Dame played without starting forward Scott Martin, who was in street clothes courtside after leaving the last game with a possible concussion.

In an opening period lacking offensive rhythm on either side, Notre Dame built a modest advantage early and gradually extended it in the first half, taking a 37-24 lead at the break.

Notre Dame did most of its first-half damage inside, going 0-for-6 from 3-point range, and getting zero points from Eric Atkins, Jerian Grant and Connaughton. Atkins and Grant were scoreless on the night and a combined 0-for-16 from the field.

Joey Brooks scored six straight for the Irish as Notre Dame went ahead 21-15. He also scored the final three points of the half.

“I thought he played great tonight,” Brey said. “He played like the veteran he is.”

Jack Cooley found room to maneuver inside in the first half, equaling Brooks’ nine points. Fellow big man Tom Knight had eight points in the first half against the smaller Big Green. Dartmouth’s 10-for-11 performance kept it within shouting distance at halftime.

Up next for Notre Dame? Not undefeated Indiana, which knocked off No. 1 Kentucky today. That’s the next game, in a week, but something else challenging comes first: final exams.

“Exams here are the real deal,” Brey said.


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