Notre Dame looked just as inept offensively at home as it did on the road in the opening five minutes against Cincinnati on Wednesday.
But the Irish quickly turned their offensive woes around thanks in part to a surprise sub off the bench as they took a 33-19 halftime lead at Purcell Pavilion.
Notre Dame forward Carleton Scott made a surprise cameo in the first half against Cincinnati, and the Irish responded to the return of the senior captain.
Scott had missed the last four games after suffering a tear in his left hamstring against Syracuse on Jan. 1 and wasn't expected to return until Feb. 3.
But the forward entered with the game tied at 6 with 14:56 to play in the opening half and helped fuel a game-controlling Irish run.
Scott hit a three-pointer on his lone shot attempt to give Notre Dame a 9-6 lead with 14:06 to play in the half, and the Irish took control with a 13-0 run that gave them a 16-6 advantage with 12:10 left in the first.
Notre Dame had started the game 1 for 8 from the floor in the first five minutes, but the Irish went 5 for 5 during their 13-0 run. Notre Dame finished the first half 12 for 25 from the floor.
Cincinnati was able to cut its deficit to 24-17 with 2:29 left in the first half, but Notre Dame closed the half on a 9-2 run.
Tyrone Nash and Tim Abromaitis paced the Irish's first-half offense with eight points each. Scott Martin leads Notre Dame's rebounding efforts with six.
Yancy Gates scored eight to lead Cincinnati's first-half offense.