Irish down No. 15 Marquette for fourth straight winFeb 4, 2012 - 10:09 PM South Bend, IN (Sports Network) - Pat Connaughton drained five three-pointers en route to a game-high 23 points, as Notre Dame earned its fourth straight win and snapped Marquette's seven-game winning streak with a 76-59 victory over the 15th-ranked Eagles at the Joyce Center.
Eric Atkins scored 18 points and Jerian Grant chipped in 12 for the surging Fighting Irish (15-8, 7-3 Big East), who have toppled three ranked teams as part of their winning streak.
Notre Dame knocked off then-unbeaten and No. 1 Syracuse to start the run and also defeated a ranked Connecticut squad in its last outing last Sunday.
"I continue to be very, very proud of the team I work with and I thought today we took another step and played like men," said Notre Dame coach Mike Brey.
Connaughton finished 5-for-8 from three-point range as part of a 9-for-12 overall effort. The Irish shot 50 percent overall and connected on 11-of-23 from three-point territory.
Conversely, Marquette made just 2-of-13 from beyond the arc and 39.1 percent overall. Darius Johnson-Odom and Vander Blue each scored 12 points for the Eagles (19-5, 8-3), who hadn't lost since a 73-66 setback at Syracuse on January 7.
Notre Dame never trailed in the second half and held a tenuous 50-46 edge midway through after a layup by Marquette's Junior Cadougan, but the Irish followed with 18 of the next 20 points to put it away.
Connaughton's jumper ignited the burst and he followed with a layup after a Marquette turnover. Jamil Wilson's bucket momentarily stopped the Irish surge, but not for long.
Scott Martin, Grant, Connaughton and Atkins all hit from beyond the arc as part of the string of 14 straight points that gave the Irish a comfortable 68-48 advantage with just over 4 1/2 minutes remaining.
A Cadougan three stopped the bleeding, but the Eagles never recovered.
"We're very cool competitors when we have a chance to put it away and I'm trilled to see that with this team," said Brey. "That's a heck of a team we played today."
Marquette opened a 16-12 lead midway through the opening half, but Notre Dame countered with the next nine points. Connaughton buried a three-pointer and added a layup to fuel the run, which Atkins capped with a transition layup for a 21-16 edge.
Connaughton added another trey with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half to give the Irish a 28-22 lead and Notre Dame went to the intermission with a 30-26 margin.
Cadougan's bucket to start the second half quickly pulled Marquette within two, but Connaughton drilled a three-pointer at the other end. Atkins drained a shot from beyond the arc a few minutes later for the Irish after the Eagles had drawn within three.
A jumper by Johnson-Odom with 14 minutes left pulled Marquette within 42-40 and the Eagles had a chance to tie or move in front after Atkins was whistled for an offensive foul. Wilson, though, missed a jumper and Connaughton connected yet again from three-point range to give the Irish a five-point edge.
The Irish have beaten five ranked teams this season, also topping Louisville and Pittsburgh when both teams were among the top 25...Connaughton also had 11 rebounds...Martin finished with 11 points, while Cadougan also had 11 for the Eagles...Marquette had been shooting 39.3 percent from three-point range during its win streak...Notre Dame improved to 80-36 all-time against Marquette, including 5-6 since the Eagles joined the Big East in 2005.
- MARQUETTE: 59
NOTRE DAME: 76
Feb 4 3:00 PM
- MARQUETTE: 26
NOTRE DAME: 30
Feb 4 2:01 PM
- MARQUETTE: 0
NOTRE DAME: 0
1st Half - 20:00
Feb 4 1:08 PM
- Beachem says he'll be back at Notre Dame for senior season May 1
- Marquette guard Wally Ellenson leaving basketball team Apr 21
- Notre Dame's Beachem enters NBA draft, won't hire an agent Apr 12
- Marquette freshman Henry Ellenson declares for NBA draft Apr 5
- Jackson: Meeting with Brey, NCAA play led him to opt for NBA Mar 30
- Notre Dame's Jackson decides to enter NBA draft Mar 29
- Brey: Notre Dame's Jackson has to explore entering NBA draft Mar 28
- Notre Dame can't find one last run to beat North Carolina Mar 28
- North Carolina and Notre Dame know each other well Mar 26
- Wisconsin's road to 3rd straight Final 4 runs through Irish Mar 25
- Notre Dame finally finding March success under Brey Mar 23
- ND's Auguste at best in March, shooting 86 percent in NCAAs Mar 22