SOUTH BEND, Indiana (Ticker) -- Chris Thomas scored 19 points as sixth-ranked Notre Dame ran its winning streak to seven games with a 76-63 victory over Vanderbilt.
The sophomore guard scored 11 points as the Fighting Irish (11-1) took a 45-27 halftime lead. Notre Dame built its lead to 57-40 with 13:20 remaining, but Vanderbilt adjusted defensively, forcing them to take many more outside shots.
With Notre Dame struggling from the outside, the Commodores (6-4) used a 14-3 spurt to close within 60-54 with 9:19 remaining. But the Fighting Irish regrouped and reserve Torrian Jones' dunk sparked a 16-2 run that pushed Notre Dame's lead to 76-56 with 70 seconds to go.
Jones' dunk came after Vanderbilt's Russell Lakey hit a long 3-pointer, prompting Notre Dame coach Mike Brey to call a timeout.
Following the timeout, the Fighting Irish did not settle for outside shots and worked the ball inside for layups and short jumpers.
Notre Dame also played better defensively, limiting Vanderbilt to two baskets over the final eight minutes.
Matt Carroll added 15 points, but shot just 1-of-5 from beyond the arc. Notre Dame shot 42 percent (25-of-59) from the floor.
Matt Freije scored 23 points for Vanderbilt, which lost for the first time in three games here.
Notre Dame is off to its best start since 1978-79 when it began the season 12-1. The Fighting Irish already have posted wins over Maryland, Texas and Marquette.
Vanderbilt, which shot 34 percent (21-of-62), suffered its third loss to a ranked team this season. The Commodores lost to Indiana and Connecticut earlier this month.