In a college basketball season that has been lacking great stories, the play of Notre Dame is one of the few surprises so far. The Irish continued their remarkable rise up the Big East standings with a dominant 76-59 victory over No. 15 Marquette. With the win, the Irish moved within a 1/2 game of second place in the conference.
The Irish won this game thanks to an excellent defensive effort. Marquette shot only 39.1% from the field as a team and hit only two shots from behind the arc. On the other end of the court, Notre Dame continued to produce with great efficiency, shooting 50% as a team and hitting 11/23 from beyond the arc. Freshman guard Pat Connaughton was simply brilliant, scoring a team-high 23 points on 9/12 shooting and grabbing 11 rebounds. Eric Atkins added 18 points and dished out five assists in the victory.
In the loss, Marquette received a strong performance from Vander Blue, who scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Darius Johnson-Odom added 12 points, while Junior Cadougan scored 11 points and dished out a team-high five assists.
For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more in-depth coverage of this matchup, head over to Notre Dame blog One Foot Down and Big East Coast Bias. For more from around college hoops, visit SB Nation's NCAA basketball news hub.