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Notre Dame uses balanced attack to beat Bearcats

Jan 20, 2011 - 3:45 AM South Bend, IN (Sports Network) - Ben Hansbrough and Tyrone Nash scored 13 points apiece, and No. 16 Notre Dame snapped a two-game losing streak with a 66-58 win over 25th-ranked Cincinnati.

Tim Abromaitis added 12 points for the Irish (15-4, 4-3 Big East), who bounced back from losses to Marquette and St. John's by building a 14-point halftime lead and holding on down the stretch.

Notre Dame also got 11 points apiece from Scott Martin and Eric Atkins in a balanced attack that moved the Irish to 12-0 at home this season.

Sean Kilpatrick scored 16 points to lead sputtering Cincinnati, while Yancy Gates had 13 points and Dion Dixon contributed 10.

The Bearcats (16-3, 3-3) have lost three of their last four since opening the season with a surprising 15-0 record.

"When you hold them to 66, we have a chance to win. But our team was pretty inept," said Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin. "They do a good job with their defense. They're a great team at home."

Rallying late in the second half, Cincinnati made back-to-back threes during a 29-second span to cut the Notre Dame lead from 11 points to five with 1:18 remaining.

Larry Davis buried his shot from the right corner and Dixon hit one from the top of the arc after the Irish turned the ball over in the backcourt, pulling the Bearcats within 57-52.

But Notre Dame iced the win from the foul line, making nine free throws in the final 72 seconds. Hansbrough collected five of his 13 points at the line during the stretch.

The Irish will host Marquette on Saturday before traveling to face No. 5 Pittsburgh on Monday in what will be one of their toughest tests of the season so far.

Not that Marquette is an easy task. The Golden Eagles beat Notre Dame by 22 points last week.

"They (Marquette) played the best defense against us all year with St. Johns a close second," said Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey. "They're going to come in ready to harass us."

The Irish jumped out to a comfortable 33-19 halftime lead against Cincinnati, hitting five of their 10 three-point attempts and shooting 48 percent in the opening 20 minutes.

A key 13-0 run early in the game took only three minutes and gave Notre Dame a 16-6 lead on Abromaitis' three-pointer. The advantage reached 16 points just before the half and was as high as 17 midway through the second half when a Nash free throw made it 50-33.

Game Notes

The Irish shot 45 percent in the game, while Cincinnati shot 38 percent...The Bearcats' bench outscored Notre Dame's 23-6...Notre Dame stretched its lead in the all-time series to 7-3.