SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — With his team trailing early Saturday night to Chicago State, Notre Dame coach Mike Brey inserted Matt Ryan into the game.

That deficit quickly evaporated.

Ryan hit five 3-pointers in a span of 4:12 and scored a career-high 23 points as the host Irish dispatched the Cougars, 91-60.

"I just want to take advantage of when I'm on the court," Ryan said. "When I'm the court, I'm going to try to do that every time."

Ryan saw extra minutes Saturday night because of a rib injury to teammate Rex Pflueger. Pflueger sustained the injury earlier in the season and aggravated it Friday at practice. Brey expects that the sophomore will play Tuesday when the Irish host Iowa.

"Obviously, Matt Ryan's performance was awesome, fabulous," said Brey, whose team improved to 6-0. "It's a great weapon. We've got to know when to ride him, when not to ride him. His teammates knew he was at a whole other level and they found him."

Ryan wasn't the only Notre Dame player excelling. Teammate Steve Vasturia scored a season-high 19 points, V.J. Beachem added 14 and Bonzie Colson chipped in 10.

"I knocked down some open shots," Vasturia said. "When you're getting open looks, it's an easy game for everybody."

Notre Dame, which missed its first five shots of the game, hit 19 of 34 from the field in the first half, including 10 of 18 3-pointers, to shoot 56 percent. Notre Dame hit on 34 of 66 (51.5 percent) for the game, including 17 of 37 (45.9 percent) from 3-point range.

Trayvon Palmer topped the Cougars (2-3) with 15 points. Fred Sims Jr. finished with 11, nine below his average. Clemmye Owens V was limited to six after entering the game averaging 15.

"I thought overall we were pretty good (defensively)," Brey said. "Defense is something this group has kind of gotten proud of."

Ryan finished with seven 3-pointers, two shy of the school record. At halftime Brey mentioned to Ryan that he was close to the record. Ryan hit an early 3 in the second half, but that was it.

"I just couldn't hit them in the end. It's frustrating," the sophomore said. "But I've got a few more games to go."

BIG PICTURE

CHICAGO STATE: Saturday's contest at Notre Dame began a month-long, 12-game stretch of games away from home.

NOTRE DAME: With Saturday's victory, Notre Dame made a strong case to dent the Top 25 after wins over Colorado and Northwestern earlier in the week.

TIP-INS

CHICAGO STATE: The Cougars finished with 10 assists, on 22 made baskets, and committed 15 turnovers. Chicago State was outscored 22-10 on points off turnovers.

NOTRE DAME: Notre Dame has now beaten Chicago State in the four all-time meetings. Prior to Saturday's contest, Notre Dame's wins have come by margins of 40, 27 and 48 points. . Irish junior point guard Matt Farrell finished with a career-high seven assists

UP NEXT

CHICAGO STATE: The Cougars, whose wins this season have come against Illinois Tech and East-West, stay in the Windy City Wednesday with a road game against UIC.

NOTRE DAME: The Irish host Iowa Tuesday in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.