No. 25 Notre Dame rallies for 84-76 win over BC

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BOSTON (AP) Bonzie Colson remembered running around Boston College, having birthday parties and shooting around with some of the Eagles’ notable players when his dad was an assistant coach.

He was having fun again Tuesday night.

Colson scored 20 points, Matt Farrell had 19 and No. 25 Notre Dame overcame a 13-point first-half deficit for an 84-76 victory over Boston College, sending the Eagles to their 10th straight loss.

“I just remember a lot of times shooting around before practice, being a ball boy. Just trying to learn the game and learn from them,” said Colson, who recalled being around former Eagles like current NBA players Jared Dudley and Reggie Jackson to name a few.

“It’s been something that’s always been a huge part of my life and I’ll never forget those memories,” Colson said.

V.J. Beachem had 16 points and Steve Vasturia added 15 for the Fighting Irish (20-7, 9-5 Atlantic Coast Conference). It is coach Mike Brey’s 13th time winning at least 20 games with Notre Dame.

Ky Bowman led Boston College (9-18, 2-12) with 29 points and Mo Jeffers had 12.

BC had sliced it to 78-76 on Bowman’s two free throws with just under a minute to play, but Beachem grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled on the ensuing possession. He hit both free throws with 24.1 seconds to play.

“When you get opportunities in the ACC, you’ve got to make the play,” BC coach Jim Christian said of the rebound. “We didn’t. It’s a short answer to a complicated question, but it’s the truth.”

The Fighting Irish trailed by 10 points early in the second half before outscoring BC 21-3 over a 4:50 span.

Consecutive 3s from Farrell 29 seconds apart tied it at 59 before Colson’s putback jam on their next possession gave them their first lead of the game with just under 13 minutes to play. Farrell let out a loud yell when he was running down the court.

“I think in the first half we weren’t playing with any energy or any of that passion we need to play with,” he said.

Farrell had committed to BC out of high school but opted out after Steve Donahue was fired in March 2014.

“I was thinking about some extra stuff,” he said. “Some guys called me `traitor.’ It was awesome.”

The Eagles had led by 13 points and posted a season-high for a first half with 49 points to open a 10-point lead at intermission. They shot 58.6 percent (17 of 29) and also went 9 for 10 from the free throw line.

BIG PICTURE

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish need to take advantage of a softer portion of their schedule – with games coming up against North Carolina State, Georgia Tech and another with BC to have a chance to make a run to the top of the ACC.

Boston College: Like a number of games this season, the Eagles showed spunk but couldn’t close out a win. With leading scorer Jerome Robinson (19.4) struggling down the stretch, they really looked challenged offensively. He finished with 11 points on 3-of-12 shooting.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Notre Dame: The Irish climbed back into the poll this week after being out for one week. A loss to BC and some weaker opponents coming up would have made it very hard to get back in the next few weeks.

NICE RUN

Brey talked about how consistent his program has remained in its fourth season in the ACC, posting a third straight 20-win season.

“We’ve been on a great run,” he said. “I’m really proud of our program. We had a pretty consistent program when were in the Big East. I was worried bringing it to the ACC.”

FAMILY HISTORY

Colson’s dad – also Bonzie – was an assistant at BC under Al Skinner for nine years.

NUMBER CHANGE

BC forward Conar Tava wore No. 30 instead of his usual No. 2 for the second half after playing the final few minutes of the first with a large tear down the left side.

UP NEXT

Notre Dame: At NC State on Saturday.

Boston College: At No. 17 Florida State on Monday. The Eagles are 0-6 on the road in league play.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25.

Bluiett back to Xavier for senior season

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Xavier lost one significant piece to the professional ranks this spring, but will return another.

Trevon Bluiett, the team’s leading scorer last year, announced via social media that he will be back to play his senior season with the Musketeers.

Chris Mack will return the bulk of a roster that struggled February only to make a run to the Elite Eight, but getting Bluiett for a final season makes the Musketeers especially dangerous. The 6-foot-6 Bluiett scored a team-high 18.5 points per game last year while also putting up 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists per night. He shot 37.1 percent from 3-point range, the second-best mark on the team. His return, even with point guard Edmond Sumner going pro amid his ACL tear recovery, makes Xavier one of the top teams in the Big East heading into the 2017-18 season.

Bluiett himself is enough to keep Xavier relevant in the league, but when he’s coupled with the likes of returners JP Macura, Sean O’Mara and Quentin Goodwin, plus a recruiting class featuring two four-star prospects, it’s not difficult to see a path for Mack’s group to a place where they can compete with the likes of Villanova and Seton Hall atop the league.

Welsh and Holiday returning to UCLA

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UCLA sustained some major, though expected, attrition from its roster this spring. On Tuesday, the Bruins announced a pair of significant contributors that will be back.

Thomas Welsh and Aaron Holiday will both return next season to the UCLA program, according to the school.

Welsh, a 7-foot center, averaged 10.8 points and 8.7 rebounds as a senior last year for the Bruins. He shot 58.5 percent from the floor and blocked 1.2 shots per game, and decided to declare for the NBA Draft without an agent before ultimately deciding to return to Westwood.

“Thomas has worked hard all spring,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said in a statement. “We supported him testing the NBA waters and are excited to have him returning for his senior year. He simply continues to develop each and every season.

“Thomas will be one of the top centers in college basketball next year and, undoubtedly, has a great chance to be a first-round pick in next season’s draft.”

The 6-foot-1 Holiday averaged 12.3 points and 4.4 assists last season while sharing a backcourt with Lonzo Ball, whose departure, along with those of TJ Leaf, Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton will leave UCLA with a very different look next season. The positive results, however, may not fluctuate too significantly with Welsh and Holiday coming back to play alongside two five-star recruits, Kris Wilkes and Jaylen Hands, as well as Lonzo’s younger brother LiAngelo.

West Virginia’s Macon forgoing final year

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West Virginia’s attempt to dethrone Kansas atop the Big 12 took a bit of a hit Tuesday.

Elijah Macon, a 6-foot-9 forward, announced his decision to forego a fifth year in Morgantown in order to pursue a professional career.

“First things first I would like to say thank you Bob Huggins and Erik Martin for believing in a young 15-year-old boy growing up from the Southside of Columbus, OH losing my mother and still having you guys push me to be the man I have become,” Macon said according to the school. “I can do nothing but thank you for all you and Mountaineer Nation (have) done for me. Unfortunately, I will not be returning for my senior season at WVU and instead sign with a(n) agent and play professional basketball. Thank you guys for all the love and support!”

Macon wasn’t a major contributor for the Mountaineers last season, averaging 6.3 points and 4.2 rebounds in 16 minutes per game, but he was an experienced and tough player who was well-versed in Huggins’ style and demands. Given the pace that the newly-fashioned Press Virginia plays at, depth is also paramount for them as a program.

Macon’s departure, though, may have been expected or at least partly anticipated by West Virginia. The Mountaineers signed five players in its most recent recruiting class, putting them one over their allotment of 13, so something had to give. West VIrginia will stay have interior depth, anchored by junior Esa Ahmad, so the loss of Macon is one they likely can weather, even if it may take some time to acclimate the newcomers.

“Elijah is in the process of completing classes during this summer school period that ends June 2 and will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in August,” Huggins said in a statement released by the school. “I respect his decision to become a professional basketball player and to go make money to support his family. He had a great four years with us, and we wish him nothing but the best.”

Key returning to Alabama for sophomore season

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Alabama’s top scorer is returning to school.

Braxton Key has withdrawn his name from the NBA draft and will be back with the Tide for his sophomore season, the school announced Tuesday.

“I spoke to coach Avery (Johnson) just over a week ago and informed him of my decision to withdraw my name from the NBA Draft and return to the University of Alabama for my sophomore season,” Key said in a statement. “I made that official when I sent my paperwork to the NBA league office Monday morning. I want to express my appreciation to my teammates, Coach Johnson and the entire coaching staff for giving me their full support while I went through this process.

“I am excited for the future of the Alabama basketball program and looking forward to getting to work as we prepare for next season. Roll Tide and Buckle Up!”

The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 12 points and 5.7 rebounds per game while shooting 43.3 percent from the field as a freshman. He gives Alabama four returning starts to pair with one of the country’s highest-regarded recruiting classes, headlined by five-star guard Collin Sexton. The Tide will also have an eligible Daniel Giddens, who previously transferred in from Ohio State.

Key didn’t seem likely to stay in the NBA draft, especially after he wasn’t invited to the combine, but his ultimate decision is a huge one for Avery Johnson as he looks to break through in his third season in Tuscaloosa with his first NCAA tournament appearance. 

Report: Justin Jackson to return to Maryland

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Maryland forward Justin Jackson is expected to return to school for his sophomore season, according to a report from FanRag Sports.

Jackson is an intriguing talent, a 6-foot-7 combo-forward with a 7-foot-3 wingspan that shoots 44 percent from three. But he’s also still developing his offensive game and consistency on the defensive end of the floor, which is why he was projected as a second round pick in this year’s draft.

With Jackson back in the fold, Maryland is a borderline top 25 team. They lost Melo Trimble to the professional ranks, but that’s something that Mark Turgeon has prepared for. With a sophomore class that also includes highly-regarded point guard Anthony Cowan and sharp-shooter Kevin Huerter, the Terps have a promising season ahead of them.