Notre Dame has bounced back from defeat in each of its last 11 chances dating back to the outset of the 2014-15 season. Now Mike Brey’s Irish will have to do it again against the highest-ranked foe they’ve faced over their last 70 contests.
No. 17 Miami outplayed Brey’s Irish for the better part of 30 minutes Wednesday evening as Notre Dame shooters went cold and Brey’s zone defense came up empty repeatedly against an efficient Hurricanes offense.
Miami shot 56.4 percent from the field while placing five in double figures en route to a 79-70 victory over the now 15-7 Irish in Coral Gables.
The Hurricanes were sparked by freshman forward Anthony Lawrence with 18 points off the bench including a 4-for-4 effort from long range. Fifth-year senior point guard Angel Rodriguez added 12 points with five assists while Sheldon McClellan (12 points), Ja’Quan Newton (12) and Kamari Murphy (11) contributed a combined 14 for 20 shooting effort from the field in support.
Tied 24-24 after Notre Dame junior Steve Vasturia nailed a three-pointer at the 6:23 mark of the first half, Miami embarked on a 21-9 run to end the opening stanza, hitting seven of nine field goals during the stretch. The Hurricanes maintained a healthy margin throughout the second, never allowing the visiting Irish to draw to within as many as 11 points until the final minute.
Head coach Jim Larranaga’s squad saw its lead peak at 20, 65-45, at the game’s 8:11 mark.
Notre Dame was led by sixth-man Bonzie Colson’s 17 points while junior V.J. Beachem added 14. Beachem, who entered the contest third in the ACC in three-point shooting at better than 44 percent, hit just 2 of 7 offerings from long range. Plagued with two fouls for the final 10 minutes of the first half, senior big man Zach Auguste posted 12 points and 9 boards, most of it inconsequential to the game’s outcome.
The 6-4 Irish managed just four buckets in 16 attempts beyond the arc and slipped from fourth to seventh in the ACC standings. Miami (6-3) is now tied for fourth place with defending champion Virginia and Pittsburgh – each member of the trio has defeated the Irish this season.
Brey conceded defeat in the final five minutes, emptying his bench in preparation for a prime time matchup with No. 2 North Carolina (19-3; 8-1) in South Bend Saturday night. The Tar Heels will likewise look to bounce back from defeat after seeing their 12-game winning streak snapped at No. 19 Louisville, 71-65 Monday night.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. as the featured contest on ESPN Game Day. Notre Dame beat North Carolina in both meetings last season but hasn’t defeated the Tar Heels in South Bend since upsetting No. 1 North Carolina, 60-58, in February 1987.