What it means: An experienced Notre Dame team salvaged a win in New York, after a disappointing loss to Saint Joseph’s the night before.
The No. 20 Fighting Irish (3-1) rallied to beat BYU on Saturday night, 78-68, in the consolation game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The Cougars (2-2) depart New York with a pair of L’s. But they played better against Notre Dame than they did on Friday, when Florida State pounded them by 18 points.
The skinny: Forward Brandon Davies, BYU’s best player, exited less than five minutes in with his second foul, and sat out the rest of the first half. Notre Dame, however, could not take advantage. The Cougars still led 32-31 at intermission.
With the score tied at 40 early in the second half, BYU went on a 9-2 run, taking its largest lead of the game at 49-42. But Notre Dame answered by scoring 12 straight points to make it 54-49 Fighting Irish. The Cougars got the deficit back to two on a couple of occasions, but Notre Dame eventually put them away.
Star watch: Notre Dame forward Jack Cooley, a preseason All-Big East first-team selection, had a double-double at halftime (12 points, 10 rebounds). He finished with 19 points and 13 boards. But he got a lot more help in the second half, particularly from Jerian Grant (19 points) and Eric Atkins (16). The starting backcourt was more aggressive in the second half, and it paid off.
Davies was plagued by foul trouble in the second half, too, picking up his fourth with more than 11 minutes remaining. He finished with 12 points in limited minutes. Sophomore guard Tyler Haws had a team-high 21, and has now scored at least 20 points in all four of the Cougars’ games -- not bad for a guy who spent the past two years in the Philippines on a Mormon mission. But the team needs a third reliable scorer to emerge. Starting point guard Matt Carlino scored just two points.
Number crunch: Notre Dame shot 52.1 percent from the field (25-for-48) and 46.2 percent from beyond the arc (6-for-13). On Friday night, Florida State shot 58 percent from the field (29-for-50) from the field and 55 percent (11-for-20) from beyond the arc. See a trend? BYU needs to ratchet up the defense.
What’s next: Notre Dame will play one more game before Thanksgiving, hosting George Washington on Wednesday.
BYU will also play Wednesday night, at home, versus Texas-San Antonio.