SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Notre Dame is hoping its stellar defense and rebounding can lead it to a Big East title.
The 25th-ranked Irish once again dominated on the boards and held their opponent to a low shooting percentage in a 62-41 win Sunday over Cincinnati.
"I thought we did a great job staying in front of people who wanted to beat us off the dribble, and we did a great job keeping it to one-and-done," said Notre Dame coach Mike Brey. "Maybe we're finding our identity here on that defensive end of the floor and rebounding the basketball."
Notre Dame's conference title hopes looked slim a month ago when team captain Scott Martin went out with a knee injury. But in his absence the team has gone 7-2, trailing conference leader Georgetown by two games, with tough road games remaining against Marquette and Louisville, both of whom are tied for second place.
"We're in the middle of this thing, and let's keep going," Brey said.
The Irish (22-6, 10-5) had four players score in double figures. Jerian Grant led them with 13 points, followed by Tom Knight with 12, and Jack Cooley and Eric Atkins with 11.
Northwestern routed by Purdue
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) Terone Johnson scored 22 points to help Purdue defeat Northwestern 74-43 on Sunday night and snap a three-game losing streak.
D.J. Byrd scored 13 points and Ronnie Johnson and Rapheal Davis added 10 each for the Boilermakers (13-14, 6-8 Big Ten), who shot 53 percent from the field and outrebounded the Wildcats 48-23. It was the second-largest victory margin of the season for Purdue and the worst loss of the season for Northwestern.
Purdue had lost five of six, and its last three losses had come by a combined 61 points. The Boilermakers were coming off an embarrassing 83-55 loss to No. 1 Indiana, and they had eight days to think about it.
Tre Demps led Northwestern with nine points. Reggie Hearn, who scored 26 in Northwestern's 75-60 win on Feb. 2, finished with eight. Northwestern (12-15, 5-9) has lost its past three games, all by 20 or more points.