CORAL GABLES, Fla. — The Miami Hurricanes won their first Atlantic Coast Conference home game of the season, defeating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 71-64 Wednesday night at the BankUnited Center.
The Hurricanes, who were led by guard Rion Brown’s 21 points and 11 rebounds, went eight for eight from the foul line in the final minute to seal the victory.
Miami (13-13, 4-9), which lost its first six league home games, is now in a three-way tie for 11th place in the conference.
For the third time this season, the Hurricanes started their five seniors — and that group is now 2-1.
Those veterans helped Miami get off to a fast start — Miami made its first five shots, including three 3-pointers. After that, the Hurricanes kept on firing.
Notre Dame (14-13, 5-9), which was led by forward Pat Connaughton’s 22 points, had its two-game win streak snapped. The Irish are just 1-6 in ACC road games this season.
With Miami leading 61-56 and 55 seconds remaining, Hurricanes freshman point guard Manu Lecomte banked in a runner to give his team a cushion.
But Connaughton made a couple of huge plays — a corner 3-pointer followed by a steal and an assist to guard Steve Vasturia, who also hit a 3-pointer.
That cut Miami’s lead to 63-62 with 35 seconds.
The teams traded two points each — free throws by Brown and a layup by Notre guard Demetrius Jackson.
Brown then made two more free throws, but a missed drive by Jackson doomed Notre Dame.
Miami, which shot 62 percent in the first half, led 38-26 at the break. Miami also shot 75 percent on 3-pointers (6 of 8).
Notre Dame shot just 29 percent at halftime and had to feel fortunate to only trail by 12 points.
After Miami took its final shot of the first half too early and missed, Notre Dame guard Eric Atkins made a 3-pointer with one second left to give the Irish at least some momentum heading into the break.
NOTES: This was the teams’ first meeting since 2004, when Notre Dame beat Miami 72-62. … PG Eric Atkins on Wednesday started his 100th career game for Notre Dame. He leads the ACC in minutes played this season and is fourth on Notre Dame’s career assist chart. He is also the first three-time captain in the 109-year history of the program. … Notre Dame G/F Pat Connaghton is also a top baseball prospect as a pitcher. Perfect Game’s website ranked him No. 46 among 2014 draft-eligible prospects. … F James Kelly has been suspended for violating team rules, leaving Miami with just eight scholarship players for the Notre Dame game. … Miami G Rion Brown’s scoring average is up eight points from last season, the fifth-best improvement in the ACC. … Up next for Miami is Saturday’s home game against Boston College. … Notre Dame plays at Virginia on Saturday.
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