The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 9, 2012

Fighting Irish edge past Mountaineers

By The Associated Press
For The Register-Herald

MORGANTOWN — Jack Cooley had a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds to lead Notre Dame to a 55-51 win over West Virginia Wednesday night.

It was the fifth straight Big East victory for the Fighting Irish (16-8, 8-3), who have not allowed more than 59 points in a game during that streak. The Mountaineers’ loss was their fourth in their past five conference games. 

Cooley was 7 of 9 from the field and 7 of 10 from the free throw line. Scott Martin and Jerian Grant each scored 12 for Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish shot 42.6 percent (20 of 47) from the field.

Jabarie Hinds scored 17 points, Deniz Kilicli added 16 and Kevin Jones had 14 for the Mountaineers (16-9, 6-6).

Three consecutive 3-pointers sealed the deal for Notre Dame, putting the Irish ahead 51-45 with 55.3 seconds to go.

West Virginia clawed back from a 12-point deficit early in the second half to lead 43-40 with 4:28 remaining. The Mountaineers’ last lead, 45-42, came with 2:33 left. Then came the triples by Eric Atkins, Grant and Martin.

In the first half, Notre Dame scored nine straight points to take a 19-12 lead with 5:12 remaining. A Jones hook broke a seven-minute scoreless span for West Virginia.

Martin scored on a tip-in and followed with a 3-point shot to send the Fighting Irish into the locker room with a 26-16 lead, its largest advantage of the first half.

West Virginia hit just 24.1 percent from the field in the first half (7 of 29) and 9.1 percent (1 of 11) from 3-point range.

Notre Dame dominated the boards (21-16) and outscored the Mountaineers 14-6 in the paint and 8-2 on second-chance points.

West Virginia’s 16 points was its lowest first-half total of the season. The last time the Mountaineers scored that few in a half was against Villanova on March 6, 2010.

Notre Dame was ahead 32-22 with 16:35 left in the game, but a 16-6 run by the Mountaineers tied the game at 38 with 7:09 left.

Jones’ 3-pointer gave West Virginia its first lead, 41-40, since early in the game.

Kilicli capitalized with a deep left-handed hook to put the Mountaineers ahead by three, which  prompted Notre Dame coach Mike Brey to call time out.

A layup by Kilicli kept the Mountaineers ahead 45-42 with 2:50 left, but three consecutive shots from beyond the arc by Notre Dame gave the Irish a 51-45 lead with 55.3 seconds left.

Cooley scored four points from the foul line for a 55-49 lead with 5.8 seconds left.

The second half was the opposite of the first in terms of field goals. West Virginia knocked down 58.6 percent (17 of 29) against Notre Dame’s 38.1 percent (8 of 21).

Jones recorded his 16th double-double of the season. He leads the Big East in scoring (20.8) and rebounding (11.2).

Meanwhile teammate Darryl “Truck” Bryant, averaging 17.6 points, was held scoreless. He was 0 of 6 from the floor.

Pat Connaughton, who scored 23 points Sunday in Notre Dame’s 73-59 victory over nationally ranked Marquette, was also held scoreless.



NOTRE DAME 55, WEST VIRGINIA 51

NOTRE DAME (16-8)

Connaughton 0-3 0-0 0, Cooley 7-9 7-10 21, Atkins 3-9 0-0 7, Martin 5-7 0-0 12, Grant 4-17 2-2 12, Dragicevich 1-2 1-2 3, Broghammer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-47 10-14 55.

WEST VIRGINIA (16-9)

Jones 6-15 1-1 14, Miles 0-2 0-0 0, Kilicli 8-14 0-0 16, Hinds 8-12 0-0 17, Bryant 0-6 0-0 0, Rutledge 0-0 0-0 0, Brown 0-3 0-0 0, Browne 2-6 0-2 4, Williamson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-58 1-3 51.

Halftime—Notre Dame 26-16. 3-Point Goals—Notre Dame 5-21 (Martin 2-3, Grant 2-7, Atkins 1-7, Dragicevich 0-1, Connaughton 0-3), West Virginia 2-16 (Hinds 1-3, Jones 1-3, Miles 0-1, Browne 0-3, Bryant 0-3, Brown 0-3). Fouled Out—Browne. Rebounds—Notre Dame 31 (Cooley 12), West Virginia 33 (Jones 12). Assists—Notre Dame 8 (Dragicevich, Grant 3), West Virginia 12 (Bryant 8). Total Fouls—Notre Dame 11, West Virginia 12. A—9,258.