SOUTH BEND — Senior reserve forward Elijah Burns came off the bench to score a career-high 15 points to lead four players in double figures as Notre Dame won its second game in three nights with an 89-62 victory over visiting Chicago State on Thursday.
Nate Laszewski added 12 points, D.J. Harvey 11 and T.J. Gibbs 10 for coach Mike Brey's youthful Irish (2-0), who blew an 18-point first-half lead but pulled away in the second half against the Cougars (0-2).
Cameron Bowles led four Chicago State players in double figures with 15 points. Anthony Harris and Delshon Strickland had 13 points each and Christian Jacob had a double-double - 12 points (10 in the first half) and 11 rebounds.
Notre Dame started strong, hitting 11 of its first 16 shots (69 percent) to take a 28-10 lead. But the Irish went cold over the final 11:29, hitting just 4 of 17 (24 percent) while the Cougars chipped away, eventually tying the game 35-35 on Rob Shaw's runner down the lane with 1:53 left in the half.
But Burns made a nifty basket with his left hand driving to the basket and Laszewski's 25-footer with five seconds remaining provided a 40-35 halftime lead despite 10 points and eight rebounds by Jacob.
The Irish put it away after the intermission with a 12-0 run in the first 2:57.
Burns and Gibbs each scored three points in the first 2:07 of the second half as the Irish opened up a 46-35 lead before Chicago State coach Lance Irvin called a timeout. Burns then completed a 3-point play after his slam dunk and Rex Pflueger canned a 3-pointer to put the Irish back in command again, 52-35, with 17:03 to play.
Notre Dame's lead reached 32 points with 6:02 remaining on two free throws by freshman Robby Carmody.
Notre Dame: With a roster that features five freshmen - Laszewski, Carmody, Prentiss Hubb, Dane Goodwin and Chris Doherty - plus UConn transfer Juwan Durham playing for only the second time, the Irish struggled offensively, especially with Gibbs and Pflueger scoring just five and three points, respectively, in the first half.
Chicago State: The Cougars, too, had a roster makeover in the offseason, with seven returnees being joined by seven newcomers and their new head coach. Their immediate growth will take place on the road as Chicago State started this season with seven games away from home, including Tuesday's 104-55 loss at Indiana.
Notre Dame: Continues its seven-game home stand Wednesday against Radford in the Gotham Classic.
Chicago State: Plays its third road game in four days Friday when it visits Central Michigan.