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Kurz leads Fighting Irish to 16th straight home win

Jan 21, 2007 - 9:49 PM SOUTH BEND, Indiana (Ticker) -- Notre Dame bounced back from a disappointing loss with yet another win at the Joyce Center.

Rob Kurz scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the 20th-ranked Fighting Irish to their 16th straight home win, an 82-58 victory over South Florida in a Big East Conference contest.

Notre Dame (16-3, 4-2 Big East) was coming off a 102-87 loss at Villanova last Wednesday. The schools will play again here on Saturday.

"We knew we had to be more physical than we were, I mean, this is the Big East," Kurz said. "We know we got beat up inside against Villanova and we wanted to make sure that we came out right from the beginning and established the low post game. I think it was a big key to the game."

The loss was the fifth in six games for South Florida (10-10, 1-5), which was outrebounded, 45-30.

Kentrell Gransberry led the Bulls with 23 points and 11 rebounds.

A layup by Gransberry gave South Florida a 24-21 lead with 8:59 left in the first half. But Kurz hit a layup and a pair of free throws as Notre Dame scored 14 points in a row in a 21-2 run to close the half.

The Bulls missed their final eight shots of the half and were just 2-of-10 from the free throw line in that span. McHugh Mattis made a free throw with 3:51 left and Gransberry converted the other with 49 seconds remaining in the half.

Kurz scored eight points in the 21-2 run and freshman Tory Jackson added a layup and a jumper.

"I'm happy for Rob," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "I know he was not happy how he played the last two games. I was really looking for him to break out because he practiced so well the last two days."

Colin Falls opened the second half with a 3-pointer to increase the lead to 45-26. Falls finished with 14 points and Jackson added 11.

"If a bench can come through like ours can, it can be a big plus," Jackson said. "So many people focus on the starters, they don't take the time to think about the people who come off the bench."

Gransberry scored six points to spark a 12-3 spurt, pulling the Bulls within 48-38 with 16:11 left.

But Notre Dame went on a 17-2 run over the next 4:53. Kurz highlighted it with a pair of 3-pointers and a three-point play. His last basket from the arc increased the lead to 65-40 with 11:18 left.

"They have a lot of balance, a lot of depth," South Florida coach Robert McCullum said. "To some degree you almost pick your poison.

"Kentrell was one of the few bright spots we had. His numbers were impressive but I thought there were times he was impatient inside."

Melvin Buckley, South Florida's leading scorer at 16.4 points per game, made just 3-of-10 shots and finished with 11 points.

    --- --- -----
    SOUTH FLORIDA 26 32 58
    NOTRE DAME (20) 42 40 82 FINAL

    Jan 21 2:52 PM


    Jan 21 1:51 PM