SOUTH BEND – Jack Cooley had 13 points and 13 rebounds Saturday to lead Notre Dame to a 69-52 win over St. Francis ofPennsylvania.
Eric Atkins and Cameron Biedscheid each scored 13 points as well for the Irish, and Garrick Sherman had 11 points in his first start of the season.
Umar Shannon scored 14 points and Ollie Jackson had 12 points on four three-pointers for St. Francis (0-5), which lost its ninth straight road game dating back to last season. The Irish (5-1) have won 39 of their last 40 home games and improved to 44-0 all-time in November under coach Mike Brey.
Cooley recorded double figures in points and rebounds in the same game for the 17th time in his career.
The Irish never trailed and blew the game open halfway through the second half with a 13-1 run that pushed their lead to 24 points with 5:45 to play. They led by as many as 25 points before both coaches sent in their reserves. Cooley scored nine of his 13 points in the second half, including five points in Notre Dame’s decisive run.
Biedscheid came in for Sherman, who went to the locker room early in the game after being poked in the eye. By the time Sherman returned, Biedscheid had drained three three-point shots and the Irish led by eight halfway through the first half. Sherman, a Michigan State transfer, was making his first start for Notre Dame in place of Scott Martin, who missed the game with a sore left knee.
St. Francis tried to shorten the game with long possessions early on, regularly running the shot clock down under 10 seconds.
Notre Dame led by as many as 13 points in the first half, but the Red Flash got that advantage under double digits on Umar Shannon’s floater in the lane with 28 seconds left before halftime. Jerian Grant answered with a fallaway jumper with 5 seconds to go, then Atkins stole the St. Francis inbounds pass and scored at the buzzer to push the Irish lead to 12 at the break.