NEW YORK – Notre Dame was facing one of the tough situations that come up for college basketball teams in late November: winning a consolation game in a tournament.
The 20th-ranked Fighting Irish responded to their semifinal overtime loss to Saint Joseph’s a night earlier by beating BYU 78-68 in the third-place game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at the Barclays Center on Saturday night.
I’m very, very proud of our team because we invested a lot of energy last night and had our hearts broken, Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said.
We were moping around a little bit today and rightfully so. By pregame meal at 3 o’clock we had our heads up, and I was impressed with our maturity because we were in a battle. We were down seven in the second half, and we found a way to get out of here with a win.
Jack Cooley had 19 points and 13 rebounds, Jerian Grant had 19 points – 17 in the second half – and Eric Atkins added 16, including the three-pointer that gave the Fighting Irish (3-1) a cushion after the Cougars had pulled within 63-61 with 4:28 to play.
Atkins hit the three 28 seconds later and that was the fifth of six attempts from beyond the arc in the second half after the Irish had gone 1 of 7 from there in the first half.
Atkins then stole the ball near midcourt and went in for the long layup that made it 68-61. That was Notre Dame’s last field goal of the game as the Irish went 10 of 12 from the free-throw line the rest of the game.
Cooley was 7 of 12 from the field as the Fighting Irish shot 52.1 percent.
No. 4 OHIO STATE 69, RHODE ISLAND 58: In Uncasville, Conn., Bishop Luers graduate Deshaun Thomas scored 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as the Buckeyes struggled with the Rams (0-3) well into the second half in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament.
Xavier Munford had 16 points to lead Rhode Island, which trailed by just four at halftime.
No. 17 MEMPHIS 65, SAMFORD 54: In Memphis, Tenn., Adonis Thomas scored 16 points and Antonio Barton added 14 points and the Tigers (2-0) escaped with a victory in an opening game of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament.
Tim Williams led the Bulldogs (1-3) with 21 points and six rebounds, connecting on 7 of 11 shots.
No. 23 SAN DIEGO STATE 60, MISSOURI STATE 44: In Springfield, Mo., Jamaal Franklin scored 15 of his 22 points in the first half to put the Aztecs (2-1) up early, and James Rahon hit a key three-pointer late.
Missouri State (1-1) pulled within 41-37 on Anthony Downing’s basket with 7:13 left.