NEW YORK -- Pat Connaughton scored a season-high 21 points and led Notre Dame's impressive show from 3-point range as the 24th-ranked Fighting Irish beat Rutgers 69-61 on Wednesday night in the second round of the Big East tournament.
Tom Knight had a career-high 18 points for sixth-seeded Notre Dame (24-8), which will face third-seeded and 12th-ranked Marquette in the quarterfinals Thursday night.
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The Irish have reached the semifinals in each of the last three years but haven't been able to get that first tournament title -- and this is the Fighting Irish's last chance since they are leaving for the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.
Senior forward Austin Johnson had a career-high 18 points for the Scarlet Knights (15-16), who were able to cut into Notre Dame's lead several times in the second half only to see Connaughton find a way to start the Irish offense in a hurry.