SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame freshman Pat Connaughton outscored Sam Houston State in the first half as the shorthanded Fighting Irish cruised to a 74-41 victory on Wednesday night.

Connaughton scored 17 of his 24 points before halftime, while Notre Dame (3-0) held Sam Houston State to 16 points.

Marcus James had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Bearkats (1-1).

Irish senior forward Tim Abromaitis sat out, serving the third of his four-game suspension. Guard Eric Atkins, who led the team in scoring (averaging 20 points) in its first two games, was sidelined with an illness.

Notre Dame was left with only eight scholarship players and a walk-on available. It went from bad to worse when Joey Brooks left the court and was taken to the locker room with 3:26 left in the first half with flu-like symptoms.

Jerian Grant helped fill the void for the Irish with 17 points and seven assists.

Sam Houston State forward Steven Werner’s playing time was limited after he was called for three fouls in the game’s opening two minutes. Werner, who led the Bearkats with 20 points and 16 rebounds in their season opener, was held to four points.

On Wednesday, Notre Dame led 15-14 in the first half before holding Sam Houston State scoreless for the next 7:51 for a 23-0 run.

For the second straight game, Notre Dame did not allow a point for a long stretch. The Irish held Detroit scoreless for 7:41 in the second half on Monday.

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