Notre Dame holds off Miami

Greensboro, NC ( - Steve Vasturia had 16 points and No. 11 Notre Dame held on for dear life in the second half to advance in the ACC Tournament with a 70-63 win over Miami on Thursday night.

Third-seeded Notre Dame (27-5) led by as many as 20 and brought an 18-point lead into the locker room at halftime, but the Hurricanes opened the second on a 22-4 run over an 11-minute stretch to tie the game.

Miami (21-12), which sat firmly on the NCAA Tournament bubble entering the contest, took its first lead with 6:30 left in the second half when Sheldon McClellan hit two free throws for a 51-49 lead.

Vasturia canned a 3-pointer to help the Irish regain the lead and Demetrius Jackson followed with a layup to push the margin to three with under five minutes left.

It remained a three-point Notre Dame edge after a transition dunk from Zach Auguste before Vasturia's two free throws made it 58-53 at the final media timeout of the game. Vasturia then followed Jackson's layup with a free throw to extend the margin to seven with over a minute left and the Irish held on.

Notre Dame is set to meet Duke in the semifinals on Friday night.

"Well, I'm really proud of our group, because they really, we struggled against their zone, and we couldn't get much of a rhythm after playing beautifully in the first half against their man to man," said Irish coach Mike Brey.

Pat Connaughton netted 14 points and Jerian Grant finished with 13 points, six rebounds and six assists in the win.

Angel Rodriguez led Miami with 15 points and Tonye Jekiri posted 11 points and 11 rebounds.

"I think Notre Dame deserves an awful lot of credit," said Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga. "They played an outstanding first half. I didn't think they were ever going to miss."

The Irish were efficient on the offensive end throughout the first half, while their defense stifled the Hurricanes.

Connaughton scored all of his points in the opening 20 minutes as Notre Dame made 15-of-24 shots from the floor -- including 8-of-13 from beyond the arc. On the other hand, Miami converted just one of its 10 attempts from long range and shot just 34.5 percent overall in the opening frame.

Connaughton, who went 5-for-5 in the first half, knocked down three straight 3-pointers to help Notre Dame take a 28-11 lead just past the midway point. He then closed the half with a deep shot from inside the arc to stake the Irish to a 43-25 advantage at the break.

Miami turned up the pressure on the defensive end in the second half, holding Notre Dame to just two free throws over the first 10:45. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes cut their deficit to 45-44 in the process.

V.J. Beachem converted a pair of free throws to give the Irish a three-point edge, but Ivan Cruz Uceda buried a 3 that made it a brand new ball game. Notre Dame, which missed its first 10 attempts to start the second half, finally got a basket to go on Grant's layup at 8:04.

Game Notes

The Irish have won three straight and five of their last six ... Miami had its three-game winning streak halted ... The win was Notre Dame's first in the ACC Tournament after dropping its first game to Wake Forest last season ... The Irish shot 1-of-9 from beyond the arc in the second half ... Jackson totaled 12 points in the win.