Jack Cooley

Defense Shines for Irish in 55-42 Victory Over Seton Hall

Jan. 25, 2012

Notre Dame at Seton Hall Box Score

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – Jack Cooley had 13 points and 11 rebounds and Notre Dame turned in its best defensive effort of the season in limiting Seton Hall to its lowest point total since 2005 in a 55-42 BIG EAST victory Wednesday night.

Jerian Grant had 15 points and Eric Atkins 14 as the Irish (13-8, 5-3) followed their victory over previously unbeaten and then-No. 1 ranked Syracuse with another impressive performance.

The 42 points were the fewest for the Pirates since a 93-40 loss to Duke on Nov. 16, 2005.

Jordan Thoedore had 11 points to lead Seton Hall (15-5, 4-4), which shot 26.3 percent for the game on 15-of-57 shooting.

Fuquan Edwin had 12 rebounds as Notre Dame handed the Pirates their third straight loss and their first in 10 home games at the Prudential Center.

The Irish frustrated Seton Hall center Herb Pope, holding him to five points on 2-of-16 shooting. He fouled out with five minutes to play.

Leading 19-18 after a sloppily played first half, Notre Dame opened the second half with a 19-7 spurt to take a 38-25 edge.

Atkins and Cooley each hit two free throws to start things, and Alex Dragicevich and Grant hit consecutive 3-pointers. Cooley later added a basket inside, and a free throw, Scott Martin made 3-pointers and Dragicevich converted a three-point play to close out the run.

The Irish were never threatened the rest of the way.

Dragicevich had all nine of his points in the final 20 minutes, while Grant had 13 of his 15.

If there was anything that could be said about the first half that was positive, it was the teams played good defense.

The teams hit 13 field goals together while shooting a combined 9 of 19 from the free-throw line.

Nobody was off more than Pope. He was 1 of 12 from the field with most of the misses coming on contested shots from within 5 feet of the basket.

The 19 first-half point by Notre Dame were a season-low, one less than it had in a loss to Indiana. The Pirates’ 18 first-half points weren’t a season low. They were limited to 15 by Syracuse in a 26-point loss in late December.

Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey Quotes

“We talked on Monday and Tuesday if we could be mature enough and be hungry and focused after the huge win on Saturday against Syracuse. Most teams might have been given a pass after a win like that, but for this team to be mature enough to get a win like this makes me proud.”

“In some ways this game is bigger than Saturday (versus Syracuse) because we handled a great win so well mentally and turned around and beat a really good team on the road. I told our team `If you get this one, I think you’re showing signs of possibly being special,’ and they delivered.”

“Seton Hall was shooting 48% from three-point range here at home and we did a heck of a job guarding the arc tonight.”