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Connaughton leads No. 16 Notre Dame over NIU

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Pat Connaughton had 21 points and 10 rebounds, leading No. 16 Notre Dame to a 91-66 win over Northern Illinois on Monday night.

Zach Auguste added 16 points on 7-for-7 shooting and eight rebounds for the Fighting Irish (12-1). Demetrius Jackson also scored 16, with five assists and four steals.

All five starters scored in double figures for Notre Dame, which shot 58.9 percent from the field and hit 12 of 28 attempts from 3-point range. Connaughton was 8 for 12 from the floor, including 5 of 9 from beyond the arc.

Midway through the first half, the Huskies (4-5) pulled even at 21 on a 3-pointer by Michael Orris. Steve Vasturia quickly answered with a 3 of his own, triggering a 27-14 Notre Dame run to finish the half.

Jerian Grant’s step-back 3 at the buzzer put the Irish up 48-35.

Connaughton took over in the second half. During a 19-13 Irish run to start the half, he made a trio of 3-pointers, a short jumper and converted an alley-oop layup off a fast-break feed from Jackson, putting Notre Dame up 67-48.

As they have all season, Notre Dame enjoyed balanced offense. Grant had 11 points and six assists, though he shot 2 for 9. Vasturia finished with 10 points.

Darrell Bowie had 15 points to pace Northern Illinois, which hit 10 of its first 19 shots. Aaron Armstead scored 13.



Northern Illinois: The last time NIU beat a ranked opponent was on Feb. 3, 1973, when it defeated No. 19 Oral Roberts 95-86 at Chicago Stadium.

Notre Dame: Entering the game, Notre Dame led the nation in field goal percentage (55.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.77). The Irish ranked third in scoring margin (plus 25.2 points), fourth in fewest personal fouls per game (13.7) and fifth in points per game (85.7).


Northern Illinois hosts Hampton next Monday.

Notre Dame hosts Hartford next Tuesday.