INDIANAPOLIS — Jack Cooley had 18 points and nine rebounds to lead No. 22 Notre Dame to its seventh straight victory, 81-68 over Purdue on Saturday in the Crossroads Classic.
Eric Atkins had 17 points and seven assists, Pat Connaughton scored 16 and Garrick Sherman 11 for the Fighting Irish (9-1), who have won every game during their win streak by double digits. Former Purdue player Scott Martin chipped in with five points for Notre Dame on 2-for-8 shooting.
Purdue freshman Rapheal Davis scored all 21 of his points in the second half, helping the Boilermakers trim a 23-point second-half deficit to single digits at one point. Ronnie Johnson scored 15 points and D.J. Byrd added 13 for Purdue (4-6).
Notre Dame outrebounded Purdue 38-33 and outscored the Boilermakers 24-14 from the free throw line.
The schools had not played each other in basketball since 2004, but Bankers Life Fieldhouse couldn't duplicate the energy from the early game – Butler's 88-86 upset win over No. 1 Indiana in overtime.
Cooley scored 11 points in the first half to help Notre Dame take a 39-31 lead at the break. The Fighting Irish shot 57 percent from the field before the break and held the Boilermakers to 11-for-27 shooting.
Purdue showed renewed energy in the second half, but a bad sequence shifted the momentum in Notre Dame's favor. A.J. Hammons missed a dunk for Purdue, then Notre Dame hustled downcourt and Connaughton hit a 3-pointer to give the Fighting Irish a 44-31 lead. Then a bucket in close by Atkins made it a 15-point game.
Notre Dame extended it to 57-35 before Purdue went on a run. Byrd and Davis each hit a 3-pointer to cut Notre Dame's lead to 57-43. Davis made a spin move to score in the lane then hit a driving layup to cut Notre Dame's lead to 10. Davis then made a jumper to trim the deficit to single digits.
Notre Dame eventually settled down. A 3-point play by Atkins pushed Notre Dame's lead back to 66-53, and a three-point play by Cooley bumped the lead to 14 with just under three minutes to play.
Purdue shot just 41 percent from the field and made only 5 of 15 3-point attempts. The Boilermakers hadn't allowed more than 70 points in a game this season and had held their previous two opponents under 50.