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Cooley's sharp shooting paces Notre Dame in rout of South Florida

Feb 12, 2011 - 10:19 PM Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Jack Cooley made 9-of-10 shots en route to a career-high 18 points and pulled down eight rebounds to lead six players in double figures as eighth-ranked Notre Dame clobbered South Florida, 78-55, at the USF Sun Dome.

Carleton Scott supplied 13 points and 11 boards while Ben Hansbrough provided 12 points and eight assists for the Fighting Irish (21-4, 10-3 Big East), who have won seven straight league games to match the second-longest Big East win streak in program history.

Tyrone Nash contributed 10 points and six caroms and Scott Martin chipped in with 10 points and seven boards for the visitors, who are 10-3 in conference play for the first time since 2000-01. Tim Abromaitis added 12 points in the victory, Notre Dame's third straight on the road.

Head coach Mike Brey celebrated his 500th career game with his 232nd victory piloting the Notre Dame program.

"This week got us confident," Brey said. "The Louisville game was a great win. It makes you believe, it gives you a bounce in your step. Our energy level is very good, I love the vibe around our group. A league title is a realistic thing for us down the stretch."

Shaun Noriega was the only player in double digits with a career-high 23 points for the Bulls (8-18, 2-11), who have dropped four in a row and six out of seven.

South Florida made only 21-of-69 shots for 30.4 percent in falling to the Irish for a fifth straight meeting and for the seventh time in eight all-time matchups.

"We got off to a bad start and they jumped all over us," South Florida head coach Stan Heath said. "It looked like we had a hangover from the last 10 minutes from our last game against Marquette . They play the right way, they play so well together and they share the ball. They keep the game simple and easy and that is why they are a top-10 team."

Hugh Robertson's three-point play gave the Bulls their only lead at 3-2 just over two minutes into the contest.

From there, it was all Irish, as they scored the next 22 points before a Noriega three-pointer ended a South Florida scoring drought of more than 7 1/2 minutes.

A Hansbrough layup and feed to Scott for a dunk finished a 10-2 spurt that put the visitors ahead 39-15 with 2 1/2 minutes to go in the first half. The teams traded baskets before the intermission.

Notre Dame was sizzling from the field in the opening 20 minutes, connecting on 18-of-27 while South Florida was the polar opposite, making only 6-of-30.

The visitors lead grew to as many as 35 late in the second half.

Game Notes

Notre Dame last won seven straight Big East games over the last five contests of the 2006-07 campaign and first two the following year...The Irish's longest in-season win streak since joining the Big East is an eight-gamer during the 2000-01 season, which was also the last time they won three conference road tilts in a row...Brey is 232-117 at Notre Dame after going 99-52 at Delaware. Cooley hit his first nine shots, and 14 in a row over the last two games, before missing his final attempt...Nash made 5-of-6, Martin connected on 4- of-6 and Abromaitis knocked down 5-of-8 as Notre Dame ended up shooting 55.7 percent...Meanwhile, the Irish held an opponent under 40 percent from the field for the 12th time this season...Notre Dame had 23 assists on 34 buckets while the Bulls had only eight on 21 makes...Noriega drained 6-of-10 from beyond the arc but the rest of the team was just 1-for-12...Ron Anderson Jr. contributed six points and 11 rebounds in the loss.