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Rodriguez scores 19, No. 7 Miami beats Notre Dame 68-50

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Angel Rodriguez matched his season high with 19 points, Sheldon McClellan added 17 and No. 7 Miami jumped to an early 18-point lead and beat Notre Dame 68-50 victory Wednesday night to move back into a tie with North Carolina for first-place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Hurricanes (24-5, 13-4) held the Fighting Irish (19-10, 10-7) to a season-low 34 percent shooting as Notre Dame struggled offensively for the fourth straight game, losing three of those. The Hurricanes also had an 39-16 advantage in rebounds and a 32-24 edge in points in the paint.

Zach Auguste led the Irish with 18 points and 11 rebounds and Bonzie Colson add 11 points.

The Hurricanes jumped to a 21-3 lead early and never let the Irish get any closer than seven points. The Irish cut to the lead to nine points with 12 minutes to go, but Miami quickly stretched the lead back out to 15. Notre Dame made one last gasp with a 6-0 spurt with to cut the lead to 59-50 with a jumper by V.J. Beachem with 3:03 left. The Hurricanes ended the streak with a 6-0 run of its own, capped by a pair of free throws by Rodriguez.

Tonye Jekiri added 14 points for the Hurricanes and Davon Reed had 10.

The game was more lopsided than their first meeting, when the Hurricanes led by 12 at halftime and by 20 midway through the second half en route to the 79-70 victory. On Wednesday, the Irish made just 1 of their first 10 shots while the Hurricanes made 7 of 10 to jump to a 21-3 lead eight minutes in.

After Tonye Jekiri missed Miami’s opening shot, the Hurricanes made five straight. It started when Rodriguez drove inside on back-to-back possessions for easy layups, then made a bounce pass to McClellan, who turned it into a three-point play when he was fouled by V.J. Beachem. After a layup by Reed, Rex Plueger finally ended Notre Dame’s scoreless streak when he hit a 3-pointer.

The Irish used a 7-0 run to close to 29-22 when Jackson drove inside and the ball bounced twice off the rim before falling in. The Hurricanes ended the half with a 6-0 spurt to lead 35-22 at halftime.

TIP-INS

Miami: The Hurricanes have won eight of their last nine. … Miami evened the all-time series at 10-10. … McClellan has scored 10 or more points in 17 straight games. …. McClellan has scored 10 or more points in 17 straight games. … Anthony Lawrence Jr., who made all four 3-pointers he attempted and scored a season-high 18 points in Miami’s 79-70 victory over Notre Dame on Feb. 3,

Notre Dame: The Irish lost back-to-back games for the first time since the end of the 2013-14 season. … Auguste has scored 10 or more points in nine straight games. … Notre Dame had seven field goals in the first half and made six free throws. … Senior captain Austin Burgett started for the third time this season. … Football coach Brian Kelly and quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford sat courtside.

UP NEXT

Miami is at Virginia Tech on Saturday.

Notre Dame hosts North Carolina State on Saturday.

Florida State beats No. 23 Notre Dame to snap 5-game skid

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Dwayne Bacon scored 21 points and Florida State snapped a five-game losing streak with a 77-56 victory over No. 23 Notre Dame on Saturday.

It was the freshman’s 11th game this season with 20 points or more as the Seminoles (17-12, 7-10 Atlantic Coast Conference) led throughout. The losing streak was Florida State’s longest in nine seasons.

The Seminoles led throughout and at one point were up by 23 points in the second half. Benji Bell added 14 points for Florida State in its second win at home this season against a ranked team.

Demetrius Jackson had 13 points for Notre Dame (19-9, 10-6), which has dropped two of three. Zach Auguste added 12 points and 17 rebounds.

With the score tied at 7, Florida State took control with an 11-3 run. Notre Dame got within 18-17 before the Seminoles ran off seven straight points, the last five from Bell.

A 3-pointer by Bacon with 1:11 remaining gave Florida State its largest lead of the first half at 46-28. A 3-pointer by Jackson to start the second half brought the Irish within 46-33 but they would not draw any closer.

STAT CORNER

Florida State’s 46 first-half points were its most in an ACC game this season. The previous high was 45 against Virginia Tech on Feb. 20. … Montay Brandon made only his second 3-pointer of the season with 15:25 remaining in the first half. He is 2 of 5 from beyond the arc this season. … Notre Dame shot 20 of 56 from the field, which was a season low (35.6 percent).

TIP-INS

Notre Dame: Jackson had four assists to become the 18th player in school history with 300 or more for his career. Jackson has 301 as five of the top 10 players on the career list have been during coach Mike Brey’s tenure.

Florida State: Bacon and Malik Beasley became the second and third players in school history to score over 450 points in their freshman season. Bacon has 457 for the season and Beasley 451. Xavier Rathan-Mayes has the record with 475 last season.

UP NEXT

Notre Dame hosts No. 12 Miami on Wednesday.

Florida State hosts Syracuse on March 5.

Jackson, Auguste lead No. 25 Notre Dame over Wake 85-62

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Zach Auguste had 21 points and 12 rebounds and Demetrius Jackson added 14 points in his return to the starting lineup as No. 25 Notre Dame defeated Wake Forest 85-62 on Sunday.

V.J. Beachem added 15 points for the Fighting Irish (15-6, 6-3 Atlantic Coast Conference).

Jackson, who missed a game with a pulled hamstring in a win over Boston College last week, added eight assists and seven rebounds. Notre Dame’s leading scorer missed Thursday’s loss to Syracuse.

Devin Thomas had 19 points and eight rebounds for Wake Forest (10-11, 1-8), which never led. The Demon Deacons have lost six in a row.

Lack of front court depth, rebounding cost No. 9 Duke

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With their lack of depth, No. 9 Duke is bound to have some issues to navigate on the defensive end of the floor. With just one dependable big man in Marshall Plumlee with Amile Jefferson still out with a foot injury, there’s only so much the Blue Devils can do when faced with a productive big man. Against Notre Dame that “big” man was 6-foot-5 power forward Bonzie Colson, who came off the bench and put forth the best performance of his career in a 95-91 win at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Colson scored a career-high 31 points, shooting 12-for-19 from the field, and also grabbing 11 rebounds. Colson was effective setting screens for the Notre Dame guards, most notably Demetrius Jackson, and either rolling to the basket or popping out for perimeter shot opportunities. But where both he and Zach Auguste, who finished with nine points (would have been more if not for his issues finishing around the basket) and 14 rebounds, hurt Duke the most was on the offensive glass.

Eight of Colson’s 11 rebounds came on the offensive end, and the Notre Dame front court tandem combined to grab 12 of the team’s 16 offensive rebounds. Those were converted into 18 second chance points, a key reason why Notre Dame attempted 16 more field goals. And for a team that lacks depth as Duke does, that extra time spent defending can add up by game’s end.

So what can Duke do at this point, with the timetable for Jefferson’s return still being undefined? Most likely, they’ll have to ask for even more from already productive players such as Brandon Ingram and Grayson Allen.

In theory a coach would like to be able to look down the bench and grab another big man capable of helping out for a few minutes here and there. But neither Chase Jeter nor Sean Obi have shown themselves capable of doing so to this point in the season. That leaves Mike Krzyzewski stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to his rotation. Plumlee finished with eight points, nine rebounds and two blocks, doing a good job of making many of Auguste’s attempts around the basket difficult, and Luke Kennard chipped in with eight rebounds in addition to his career-high 30 points.

But with just one bonafide big man, closing out possessions and defending ball screens will be tough for Duke, which has looked to mix in some zone in recent games. If Duke is to remain part of the ACC race until Jefferson returns, the guards will have to contribute even more on the glass. And even if that does happen, it may not be enough as Duke doesn’t have a big man capable of defending ball screens at Jefferson’s level.

No. 5 Virginia beats Notre Dame 77-66 for 11th straight win

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) Pound it inside to the big men. Wait for the defense to sage, and then beat them over the top.

Virginia had both formulas working Saturday night as they shot 57 percent and used a 21-4 first-half run to cruise to their 11th consecutive victory, leaving Fighting Irish coach Mike Brey in a complimentary mood.

“Today was kind of men among boys,” he said after the Cavaliers’ 77-66 victory that wasn’t nearly that close. “Any time we tried to make a little bit of a run and get some hope, they kind of squelched it.”

Anthony Gill scored seven of his 14 first-half points during the big early run, and Malcolm Brogdon opened the second half with a pair of 3-pointers from the same spot. Virginia had one first-half 3-pointer.

“I was surprised they didn’t close out,” Brogdon said of his first 3 at the 19:17 mark, when the defense suddenly seemed to be daring the Cavaliers’ leading scorer to shoot. “I had a wide open look. I kind of hesitated a little bit and then just let it go because they were sagging and they backed off a little bit.”

Less than a minute later, Brogdon bagged another one from the same spot.

Brogdon led Virginia (12-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) with 24 points, Gill had 21 and Mike Tobey had his second straight big game off the bench with 15 points and six rebounds. The 7-foot senior, coming off a career-high 16 points in a victory against Oakland, made 5 of 9 shots and added two blocks and an assist.

In the four games before Virginia beat Oakland, Tobey totaled six points and seven rebounds.

“That’s what we’re going to need from him throughout the season,” Gill said. “He’s a great player, has a soft touch around the basket and takes up a lot of space on defense. When his mind is right, he can be a really effective player for the team and help us get to the next level.”

Demetrius Jackson led the Fighting Irish (9-4, 0-1) with 18 points. Steve Vasturia and Bonzie Colson each added 14, and Brey said he was thrilled to be finished with the Cavaliers, at least in the regular season.

“They’re so secure with who they are and they never waver,” he said. “I use the phrase – their game is tight on both ends. They’re the tightest in the league and maybe in the country on both ends of the floor.”

The Cavaliers’ 12th straight victory at home came as Virginia launched its bid to become the first team since Duke from 1997-2000 to win three consecutive outright ACC championships.

Virginia made it look easy once the Irish stopped making contested shots.

Notre Dame made its first four shots, all by different players, and then missed 10 of 12 as Virginia turned an 8-4 deficit into a 25-12 lead. The Cavaliers built their lead as high as 13 points three times in the first half.

It was 36-24 at halftime, and the closest the Irish came thereafter was 36-26 on Colson’s basket to open the second half. Brogdon scored Virginia’s first eight points, including the two early 3-pointers, then fed London Perrantes for another 3 in the right corner for a 47-30 lead, the Cavaliers’ biggest to that point.

Later, two free throws and a three-point play by Tobey, who was coming off a career-best 16 points against Oakland, and a free throw by Gill capped 10-2 burst that pushed the margin to a game-high 59-40.

QUOTABLE:

“Tobey and Gill, they’re just really good, man. They’re just men. They’re men. When do they graduate?” – Notre Dame coach Mike Brey.

TIP-INS:

Notre Dame: Coach Mike Brey fell to 0-7 in his career against Virginia. … The Cavaliers were the first ranked opponent the Irish have played this season.

Virginia: Coach Tony Bennett improved to 5-0 against Notre Dame is his career, including an NCAA tournament victory in 2008 while at Washington State. … Brogdon (16.2 ppg) started the day having missed all 13 of his 2-point shots in his last two games, and 17 of 18 in his last three. He ended the drought with a driving left hand layup at the 13:22 mark of the first half.

UP NEXT:

Notre Dame: is at Boston College on Thursday night.

Virginia: is at Virginia Tech on Monday night.

Follow Hank on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/hankkurzjr

The AP college basketball page: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org

Indiana rallies past Notre Dame with 17-2 second half run

Associated Press
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Following a Demetrius Jackson tip dunk with 6:32 remaining that gave Notre Dame a 71-63 lead, Indiana looked to be in serious trouble at the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis. They weren’t stringing together stops defensively, thus preventing them from making a dent in the Fighting Irish advantage despite knocking down shots on the other end.

But Indiana went to a zone defensively and received a much-needed spark from Troy Williams, sparking a 17-2 run that turned the eight-point deficit into an 80-73 victory.

The junior wing scored seven of Indiana’s final 17 points, finishing with 18 points and ten rebounds on the afternoon. Williams’ intensity, like that of his teammates, hasn’t always been present this season especially on the defensive end of the floor. But that changed down the stretch against Notre Dame, with Bonzie Colson (24 points, eight rebounds) and V.J. Beachem (18 points) both going quiet as a result. Notre Dame shot a respectable 45.5 percent in the second half, but a lot of that damage was done early in the stanza.

Mike Brey’s team led by as much as 16, but the Hoosiers managed to avoid the play that could have served as the knockout blow. Ultimately the Hoosiers would take advantage of Notre Dame’s missed opportunities, and their play in the final six-plus minutes should be something for Tom Crean’s team to build upon.

But the question that begs asking is a simple one: why can’t Indiana play that way on a consistent basis?

There’s no question that the talent is present, with Ferrell running the point and multiple players capable of scoring on the wings such as Williams, James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson. But there hasn’t been a consistent commitment to getting stops instead of simply relying on their offensive talents and the mindset that “we’ll just get the points back on the other end.”

If Indiana is to compete with the likes of Michigan State, Maryland and Purdue in Big Ten play, they have to play with greater consistency and commitment on defense. Colson and Zach Auguste were a big reason why Notre Dame scored 46 points in the paint, as Indiana continues to struggle with its interior defense and that may be a trend the Hoosiers simply have to deal with. The move to zone helped Indiana account for this issue, and unlike their failed comeback attempt against UNLV last month the Hoosiers finished the job this time around.

The last six-plus minutes showed, to a certain extent, what Indiana is capable of when fully engaged. But the fact that they don’t play that way consistently is why there’s been so much frustration with this group. Can Saturday’s win serve as the spark Indiana needs? That remains to be seen.