Though the hype for tonight’s game in Cincinnati might have paled in comparison to the BCS Championship game in Miami, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball team had a Top 25 showdown with the Cincinnati Bearcats.
Wait, what’s that I just heard? Millions of televisions turn to something other that the football game as Alabama has just gone up 14-0 early in the first quarter.
Back to the hardwood. The Irish, fresh off a beat down of the Seton Hall Pirates in South Bend, were primed to make a statement in a tough road test against a reeling Bearcats team that had lost two of three coming in. Let’s just say the basketballers fared a little better than the footballers are.
Notre Dame was methodical and well-balanced on offense and settled for high percentage shots in a 66-60 win over Cincinnati, who dropped to 1-2 in the Big East. Though only playing with a seven man rotation, the Irish were able to spread out a Cincinnati defense that has been their backbone, and shot 50% from the floor. Five players scored in double-figures, led by Jerian Grant‘s 19. The Irish shot 9-of-16 from beyond the arc and 9-of-13 from the free throw line. For you numbers junkies, that’s over 50% in all three phases of offense. To call them efficient tonight would be an understatement.
Cincinnati, meanwhile, saw their home losing streak reach three games, the longest during coach Mick Cronin‘s tenure. Junior guard Sean Kilpatrick was the lone Bearcat in double-figures, pouring in 15 points to go along with four rebounds. Cincinnati must now regroup and hit the road for upcoming games with Rutgers and DePaul.These are what you might call must-win games.
The Irish have now won 12 straight for the first time in seven seasons and at 14-1 are off their best start under head coach Mike Bray. The Irish have off until Saturday, then they play host to the Connecticut Huskies.
So while the Fighting Irish football team is now down 21-0 early in the second quarter, it’s beginning to look more and more like basketball season in South Bend and the Big East had better take notice.