South Bend, IN – Jack Cooley poured in a game-high 24 points to go with 15 rebounds as No. 22 Notre Dame cruised past Niagara, 89-67, on Friday.
"He's very underrated as an athlete. He's quick off his feet. His reach is long. Certainly he has great strength. And he has great hands. Just super hands. When he gets near it, it's usually his," Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said of Cooley.
Cameron Biedscheid had 15 points, while Jerian Grant and Eric Atkins added 13 and 12, respectively, for the Fighting Irish (12-1), who improved to 10-0 at home this season.
"They have good balance. They have perimeter guys, they have the big guy. I'll tell you what, they're going to be a tough out," Niagara head coach Joe Mihalich said of Notre Dame.
Antoine Mason dropped in 17 points and Marvin Jordan and Juan'ya Green scored 11 apiece for the Purple Eagles (5-7).
Jordan's 3-pointer with just over seven minutes gone put Niagra up 16-15, but a 19-8 run put Notre Dame on top, 34-24, with five minutes to go in the first half. The teams traded blows the rest of the way and the Irish went into the break with a 42-34 lead.
Garrick Sherman's layup at the 14:20 mark sparked a 24-11 push to put Notre Dame up 75-52 with just over seven minutes showing, and Niagara couldn't get closer than 20 the rest of the way.
The Irish finished the game a blistering 62 percent (31-for-50) from the field while holding the Purple Eagles to just 36.8 percent (25-for-68) shooting.
Notre Dame went 18-for-24 from the field in the second half and shot 50 percent (8-for-16) from behind the arc ... The Irish will open Big East conference play on Jan. 5 when they play host to Seton Hall .... Niagra is out of action until Jan. 3 when it hosts Marist.