SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame guard Eric Atkins did all the work while his teammates settled in, and the Irish lead Kentucky 42-29 with 15:45 to play.
Notre Dame's junior guard scored his team's first six points as it fell behind Kentucky 12-6 after the opening five minutes.
The Irish started the game shooting 4 of 12 from the floor, but Notre Dame hit 11 of its next 27 shots.
Notre Dame pulled away from Kentucky with a 17-4 run that flipped a 14-10 deficit with 12:39 to play in the half into a 27-18 lead with 4:35 to play.
The Irish have kept the pace to their liking for most of the game, limiting the Wildcats' breakaways. Notre Dame also holds an 18-14 rebounding edge, which was a key for the Irish tonight.
Atkins had 13 points, and Jack Cooley had eight for Notre Dame at halftime.
Julius Mays led Kentucky with seven points, and Kyle Wiltjer had six at half.