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More luck for Irish, who upend No. 8 Kentucky
South Bend, IN (Sports Network) - Eric Atkins scored 16 points to lead four Notre Dame players in double figures, as the Fighting Irish upended No. 8 Kentucky, 64-50, on Thursday night as part of the Big East/SEC Challenge.
Jerian Grant and Jack Cooley netted 13 points apiece and Cameron Biedscheid added 10 points off the bench for Notre Dame (7-1), which has won 41 of its last 42 games at home.
"The energy in the building was great. I'm really proud of our group," said Notre Dame coach Mike Brey.
Julius Mays paced Kentucky (4-2) with 16 points, while Nerlens Noel chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds for the Wildcats, who had won three straight since a Nov. 13 loss to Duke.
"I'm disappointed that we didn't compete," said Kentucky coach John Calipari. "They beat us to balls, under the basket, and we just didn't compete. We didn't execute and we didn't play together."
Kentucky, playing its first true road game of the season, held a 12-6 edge after a Mays 3-pointer five minutes into the contest, but Notre Dame countered with an 11-2 surge to take a three-point lead at the midpoint of the first half.
An Atkins jumper with just over three minutes remaining before intermission pressed the edge to 10, and after a Noel tip-in, Grant buried a triple to make it 34-23 in favor of Notre Dame with 1:48 left in the half.
Jarrod Polson's layup in the lane just before the halftime buzzer trimmed Kentucky's deficit to 36-25 at the break, but the Irish quickly distanced themselves over the final 20 minutes.
Scott Martin scored eight of Notre Dame's first nine points in the second half, including a step-back three from the top of the key to press the Irish lead to 45-31 just under five minutes into the period.
Kentucky countered with four straight points to cut the margin to 10, but Notre Dame ripped off the next 10, highlighted by 3-pointers from Biedscheid and Grant to make it a 55-35 margin just before the midpoint of the second half.
The lead never dipped below double-digits the rest of the way, and the Irish held the Wildcats scoreless over the final 2:35 to complete the victory.
The Wildcats had won 11 of the last 12 meetings ... Notre Dame improved to 46-0 at home in the month of November under Brey ... The Irish have won 12 straight in South Bend ... Martin finished with eight points for the Irish.
11/29 23:33:21 ET
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