Jan. 4, 2012
CINCINNATI (AP) – Dion Dixon led a balanced Cincinnati scoring attack with 18 points and the Bearcats defeated Notre Dame 71-55 in a Big East contest on Wednesday night.
Jaquon Parker scored 11 points, all in the second half, and Jeremiah Davis III added 10 as Cincinnati (12-3, 2-0) snapped a three-game losing streak against the Fighting Irish (9-6, 1-1).
Jerian Grant scored 17 points and Jack Cooley finished with a double-double on 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead Notre Dame, which never led. The game was tied once, at 2-2 with 17:39 left in the first half.
The Bearcats’ Big East home opener drew a season-high crowd of 10,142, including Basketball Hall of Fame member Oscar Robertson, who occupied his courtside seat for the first time in nine games at Fifth-Third Arena. The previous high was 7,021 for a 73-69 win over Marshall on Nov. 25.
Cincinnati was at full strength for the first time since Yancy Gates, Cheikh Mbodj and Octavius Ellis were suspended for six games each after the Bearcats’ brawl with Xavier on Dec. 10.
Gates, a pre-season second-team All-Big East pick, entered the game with 14:31 left in the first half and scored all six of his points in 12 minutes before halftime, helping the Bearcats take a 31-21 lead into the locker room. The first-half scoring was the second-lowest of the season for Notre Dame, which shot just 32.1 percent (9 for 28) overall and 1 for 10 on 3-pointers before halftime. The Irish scored 20 in a 69-58 loss to then-No. 18 Indiana on Dec. 17.
Parker, scoreless in 14 minutes in the first half after setting a career-high with 21 points in Cincinnati’s 66-63 win at then No. 22 Pittsburgh on Sunday, made three 3-pointers in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the second half to help the Bearcats open up a game-high 17-point lead, 43-26. Notre Dame got no closer than eight points.
Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey Quotes
“I thought Cincinnati’s pressure sped us up in the first half. We had some open shots, but we rushed them. We never got into a rhythm in the first half and that’s a credit to their pressure.”
“Jack Cooley has been fabulous for us and he was a horse again tonight by getting a double-double. Eric Atkins also did a heck of a job for us by quarterbacking our offense. Jerian (Grant) got going tonight, but got going too late.”
“Tonight was a great learning experience because we’ll play against a similar type of team on Saturday at Louisville. They’ll pressure us like Cincinnati did tonight.”