Paced by big men Jack Cooley and Garrick Sherman, Notre Dame has reason to feel confident heading into its first true test of the season.
Hoping to again showcase their powerful inside game, the No. 20 Irish face Saint Joseph's in the semifinals of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Friday night.
Notre Dame (2-0) coach Mike Brey expected the 6-foot-9 Cooley to be an offensive threat this season and hoped the 6-10 Sherman would provide a similar inside presence off the bench. Brey saw Monday how much of a force they can be when on the floor together at times.
Sherman posted career highs of 22 points and nine rebounds while Cooley added 16 points and nine boards in an 84-57 win over Monmouth.
The two players were the main reason the Irish owned a 40-20 scoring advantage in the paint and outrebounded the Hawks 42-24.
"That really helped us, just being able to pound away with two big guys,'' Brey said. "This is so important for (Sherman) as ...