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Notre Dame gets commitment from four-star guard

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Mike Brey’s 2018 recruiting class just got stronger Thursday.

Notre Dame added its second four-star prospect, Robby Carmody, a 6-foot-4 guard from Pennsylvania.

“The recruiting process has been a humbling and exciting experience!” Carmody wrote on social media. “My sincerest appreciation goes out to all the coaches and schools that invested time getting to know me throughout the process.

“Today I am blessed and excited to announce that I am committing to the University of Notre Dame!”

Carmody, who just recently visited the Fighting Irish and Purdue,  joins Prentiss Hubb as the first two pieces of Brey’s 2018 class. Hubb is a 6-foot-2 guard from Washington, DC and a top-75 ranked player nationally.

The Irish will need some major pieces in 2018 after losing the likes of Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell to graduation after this upcoming season. Notre Dame has won at least one NCAA tournament game in each of the last three seasons, making two Elite Eights during that time.

Four-star guard commits to Notre Dame

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Notre Dame’s 2018 class just added its first piece in a major way.

Prentiss Hubb, a top-40 shooting guard, committed to the Fighting Irish on Wednesday night.

“I am proud to announce my commitment to Coach (Mike) Brey and Notre Dame University,” Hubb wrote on social media. “I want to thank all the coaches who took the time to recruit me.

“I also want to thank my family, friends, coaches, trainers and everyone who has motivated me and helped me through my career thus far. I am excited for what the future has in store for me.”

Hubb is a 6-foot-2 off-guard out of Washington, D.C. He chose the Irish over the likes of Maryland and Villanova.

His commitment puts Notre Dame in a very strong spot in 2018. It’s a class that will be tasked with replacing some serious talent in South Bend as the Fighting Irish will be losing Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell to graduation after the 2017-18 campaign.

West Virginia’s offense powers it past Notre Dame

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West Virginia’s defense powered it to 26 regular season wins, a second-place finish in the Big 12 and a four-seed in the NCAA tournament.

The Mountaineers’ offense got them to the Sweet 16.

West Virginia shot 50 percent from the floor and 57.1 percent from 3-point range to defeat Notre Dame, 83-71, and earn a spot in San Jose.

Now, West Virginia didn’t do it on offense alone as its defense did cause the Irish trouble. Notre Dame barely cracked 40 percent shooting and turned it over 14 times. The Irish were only competitive because of Bonzie Colson’s 27 points and 17 of 17 shooting from the free-throw line.

The story, though, was West Virginia’s ability to get buckets.

West Virginia simply hasn’t been a very good shooting team this season. The Mountaineers aren’t exactly bad shooters, but they’re decidedly mediocre. From 3-point range, they convert at 36.3 percent, and from inside the arc, they’re at 50.4 percent.

Against Notre Dame, they went  8 of 14 from deep while getting just 15 of their points off turnovers. Jevon Carter went for 24, making 4 of 5 3-pointers. Daxter Miles scored 18 and Tarik Philip added 12 to give West Virginia a dynamic backcourt presence Saturday.

If the Mountaineers are making shots, they’re a totally different – and more dangerous – animal.

Teams know they have to prepare for West Virginia’s press. It’s a unique system that’s difficult to replicate. The press is hurried and unpredictable. It takes teams out of their primary actions and forces opponents to operate in uncomfortable situations. It creates 94 feet of chaos.

If that’s paired with a team capable of getting buckets at a high rate and not disproportionately dependent on live-ball turnovers, the Mountaineers just became an especially tough out.

Beyond the obvious of putting points on the board, West Virginia scoring at an efficient clip gives them more opportunities to set its press and put more pressure on opponents. A productive West Virginia offense puts its defense in the best situation to succeed.

Bob Huggins’ group was always going to be a tough matchup for teams unfamiliar with their style, but if the Mountaineers can shoot it like they did against Notre Dame, they’ll be adding a dimension that creates even further headaches for opposing coaches.

Notre Dame survives first round scare from Princeton

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Notre Dame staved off the madness to start the NCAA tournament.

The fifth-seeded Fighting Irish fought off an upset bid from No. 12 Princeton and claimed a 60-58 victory in a first-round matchup in Buffalo.

The Tigers had multiple chances late to either tie or take a lead, but were unable to convert, keeping them without an NCAA tournament win since 1998. Princeton had a look to tie it with 18 seconds left, but Steven Cook’s 3-pointer was off the mark, though a tip-in from Pete Miller pulled the Tigers within one. Matt Farrell then missed the front-end of a one-and-one, giving Princeton the ball down one.

The Tigers pushed the ball past halfcourt, but Devin Cannady settled for a decent 3-point look rather than attack the rim and his offering clanked off the rim.

Notre Dame entered the game as the country’s top free-throw shooting team at 79.9 percent, but struggled mightily at the line this day, going 14 of 21 (66.7 percent), which in no small part helped the Tigers stick around and ultimately have a chance to win the game on the final possession.

Bonzie Colson had 18 points, seven rebounds and two assists for the Irish. Farrell had 16 points, four rebounds and four assists.

Princeton got 15 points from Spencer Weisz in a game in which they shot 38.6 percent from the floor and 25.8 percent from 3-point range, but still had an opportunity to win.

The Irish will now await the winner of No. 4 West Virginia and No. 13 Bucknell for the right to advance to the Sweet 16 in the West region.

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.

No. 10 Florida State hands No. 15 Notre Dame first ACC loss

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Notre Dame shot over 70 percent on 21 3-point shot attempts, but it wasn’t enough as tenth-ranked Florida State became the first ACC team to defeat the Fighting Irish with a 83-80 win Wednesday night in Tallahassee.

Johnathan Isaac had 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Seminoles, who moved into a tie for the ACC lead along with Notre Dame and North Carolina, which all sport 5-1 league records. The ‘Noles shot 50 percent from the floor and had 39 points off their bench.

The Fighting Irish made 15 of 21 3-point shots on the night, getting six from Matt Farrell and five apiece from VJ Beachem and Steve Vasturia.

Florida State continues the ACC gauntlet with a home test against Louisville on Saturday while the Irish have Syracuse in South Bend on Saturday.

Here are three things to takeaway from this win for Leonard Hamilton’s club:

1. Jonathan Isaac, man: He was so good. He finished with 23 points, 10 boards and seven blocks, shooting just 7-for-9 from the floor, but it wasn’t just the plays that he made that were impressive. It was when they came. Isaac buried a pair of threes and sparked a late Florida State flurry that pushed the Seminoles out to a seven-point lead with two minutes left. He had a nasty block on a dunk attempt by V.J. Beachem, and then, after Florida State turned the ball over on their final possession, blocked two shots at the rim to help preserve the victory.

Isaac has had some issues with intensity and aggressiveness this season, and there are questions about whether or not he has the killer instinct to be a star at the next level. Tonight’s performance should quiet some of those doubters, at least for the time being.

2. This was the first time that Notre Dame looked overmatched by size and athleticism: Florida State is big, they’re athletic and they’re versatile. Notre Dame isn’t, and it showed tonight, particularly in the first half. Matt Farrell had five of his six turnovers in the first 20 minutes. As a team, the Irish finished with 18 turnovers, and just seemed to be out sync offensively for much of the game. That’s what Florida State wants to do defensively. That is their game-plan, and it worked quite well on Wednesday.

And yet, Notre Dame was still able to hang around in this one thanks to their ridiculous three-point shooting. They were 15-for-21 from beyond the arc, the 19th team to make 15 threes and shoot better than 70 percent from three since 2010 and the only one of those 19 to lose. There are a couple ways to look at that:

  1. Notre Dame’s fluky shooting kept them from getting exposed against a team that could take advantage of Notre Dame’s weaknesses..
  2. That Florida State was still able to win, and force turnovers on 23.7 percent of the possessions against the nation’s seventh-best team at protecting the ball, says more about the Seminoles than anything else.
  3. These are two excellent basketball teams that traded haymakers for 40 minutes.

No. 3 sounds about right to me.

3. Both of these teams will be in the ACC title race for the long haul: What more do either of them have to prove? Florida State has now beaten Duke and Notre Dame in their last two home games, which sandwiched an impressive performance in a loss at North Carolina. And the Irish? Their three losses this season came against Villanova, Purdue and Florida State by a combined 16 points, none of them coming at home.