SOUTH BEND – Cameron Biedscheid scored a season-high 18 points, 15 in the second half, and Jack Cooley added 17 points and 16 rebounds to lead Notre Dame to a 65-60 win over Villanova on Wednesday night.
After going 1 of 2 from three-point range in the first half, Biedscheid was 4 of 5 in the second. Overall, the Irish (17-4, 5-3 Big East) were 9 of 21 from three-point range and survived going more than 13 minutes without scoring a 2-point basket. Villanova (13-8, 4-4), coming off back-to-back victories last week against then-Top 5 teams Syracuse and Louisville, was just 3 of 11 from three-point range.
Tom Knight added 10 points for Notre Dame. Mouphtaou Yarou led Villanova with 20 points, Darrun Hilliard scored 14 and JayVaughn Pinkston had 11.
Biedscheid, a freshman, scored in double figures in a Big East game for the first time to spark the Irish, who had lost two of three at home.
Biedscheid scored six straight on his own early in the second half to give the Irish a 35-34 lead. Biedscheid was fouled by Ryan Arcidiacono on a three-point attempt and made all three free throws. He added a three-pointer on Notre Dame’s next possession. Moments later, after Villanova opened a three-point lead on a three-point play by Pinkston, Cooley answered with a slam dunk and Biedscheid hit a three from the corner to give the Irish a 41-39 lead. The dunk by Cooley ended the streak of nearly 13 minutes without a 2-point basket by the Irish.
Later, Pinkston hit a jumper as the shot clock expired to cut Notre Dame’s lead to 44-43. When Arcidiacono answered with a three, Biedscheid responded with another trey to make it 50-46. The Irish also got some help from little-used Zach Auguste, who hit back-to-back baskets inside to give Notre Dame a 54-48 lead.
A three-point play by Yarou cut the lead to 54-51. But the Irish quickly answered with a 15-foot jumper by Knight and a three-pointer by Jerian Grant to open a 59-51 lead.
Villanova closed within three points twice in the final minute, on three-pointers by Hilliard and Yarou, but couldn’t get any closer.
Villanova led at halftime for its 15th straight game, largely because of a big advantage in foul shooting. The Wildcats were 10 of 10 from the free-throw line, with Yarou and Hilliard making three each. The Irish had only two attempts, with Cooley making both. The Wildcats used an 8-0 run late in the first half to open a five-point lead, while the Irish made just one field goal, a Biedscheid 3-pointer, in the final 5:18.