MILWAUKEE – Notre Dame coach Mike Brey knew early it was going to be a tough game, especially one without Jack Cooley.
Jamil Wilson tied his career-high with 19 points and Chris Otule added a season-high 16 on 8-of-8 shooting to help No. 22 Marquette beat No. 21 Notre Dame 72-64 on Saturday, the Golden Eagles 25th consecutive home win.
Otules layup and Trent Locketts jumper gave Marquette a lead that they never lost.
When they get two buckets in the paint at the start of the game, that just sets a heck of a tone, Brey said. It seemed like it was so hard for us to score. We got worn out early and tried to make a run (at the end).
Jerian Grant scored 21 points, one shy of his career high, and grabbed seven rebounds, Eric Atkins added 16 points, five rebounds and six assists and Zach Auguste had 15 points for Notre Dame (22-7, 10-6 Big East).
Cooley, Notre Dames leading scorer, had his minutes limited due to illness. He played 15 minutes, missing one shot and grabbing one rebound. After the game, Brey doubted himself about Cooley.
Jack was in the infirmary, Brey said. He didnt practice the last two days. We got him off an IV yesterday. In hindsight, I wonder if I should have brought him on this trip. (He had a) virus flu. He wanted to try it and, obviously, he just wasnt there.
Cooley started the second half, but was no match against Otule and Davante Gardner.
The second half, I just said forget it, Brey said. Lets get him home and get him healthy for Tuesday.
Akins knew how much the team values Cooleys effort and his 14.4 points per game average.
Thats our horse inside, Atkins said. Today, he wasnt there for us, so it made it a little different.
Marquettes bench outscored Notre Dames 32-20.
When all 10 of our guys show up, then it becomes really difficult for me to get guys in and out, Marquette head coach Buzz Williams said.
I am not taking Jamil out when he is playing as well as he is. I am not taking Chris out when he is playing as well as he is. I am not taking Davante (Gardner) out when he is playing as well as he is. That is the kind of problem I want to have.
Wilson scored 17 points in the second half, including seven down the stretch, for the Golden Eagles (21-7, 12-4).
The Irish rallied from a 16-point deficit in the first half. Augustes dunk pulled Notre Dame within 59-51 with 4:36 left.
The second half, I just said forget it, Brey said.
It was the 117th meeting and possibly the last regular-season conference game between the schools. Both are exploring multiple options for the 2013-14 academic year.