Notre Dame knocks Miami out of ACC's first place with road victory
Boy, did Notre Dame need that one.
After a disappointing home loss to No. 9 Duke on Monday night, the Irish men's basketball team rose to occasion Wednesday night in Coral Gables, Fla.
Notre Dame's 68-64 victory at Miami knocked the Hurricanes out of first place in the ACC and kept the Irish firmly in conference contention and on the NCAA Tournament bubble.
Graduate senior forward Paul Atkinson Jr., who was Notre Dame's lone bright spot in the 57-43 loss to Duke, put the Irish on his back with season highs in points (23) and rebounds (11). Atkinson's 15 points in the first half allowed the Irish to hold a 30-28 halftime lead despite making 1-of-15 shots from 3.
The Irish (18-7, 8-3 ACC) needed less than eight minutes Wednesday night to match the 14 points they scored in the first half Monday night against Duke.
Notre Dame discovered its long-range touch in the second half with five made 3s from senior guards Prentiss Hubb (3), Cormac Ryan and Dane Goodwin. Hubb and Goodwin took turns providing the offense from Notre Dame's guard positions. Goodwin scored 11 of his 14 points in the first half. Hubb scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half.
Freshman guard Blake Wesley continued to struggle from the floor. After scoring six points on 3-of-15 shooting against Duke, Wesley made only two of his 13 shots with five points against Miami (16-6, 8-3). Wesley entered the week averaging 16.7 points per game in ACC play. He stayed productive Wednesday night with seven assists.
When the Irish started hitting 3s in the second half, they built a lead up to as many as 14 points with 10:01 remaining in the game. Miami's Anthony Walker scored 10 points in a row to keep the Hurricanes in the game. Notre Dame's lead was cut to two possessions with less than three minutes remaining.
The Hurricanes trailed by four with 30 seconds remaining but didn't make another field goal. Ryan hit a pair of free throws before senior forward Nate Laszewski and Wesley missed the front ends of bonus free throws that fortunately proved to be inconsequential for the Irish.
Guard Isaiah Wong led Miami with 18 points. Charlie Moore, a guard, and Walker, a forward, both scored 12.
Notre Dame won't have much time to celebrate the victory that pulled it within a half game of Duke atop the ACC standings. The Irish have to complete a four-game, eight-day stretch at NC State on Saturday (3 p.m. EST on ACC Network).
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