BOSTON — Notre Dame guard Paul Connaughton and forward Zach Auguste both heard loud applause from a road crowd when they were introduced before Sunday’s game.
With good reason. They are both local products — and they both helped the Fighting Irish to their first road victory of the season, a 73-69 Atlantic Coast Conference win over Boston College.
“I was talking to the media out at South Bend and I said I’ll probably get a better ovation here than I get back at home,” Connaughton, who is from Arlington, Mass., said after scoring 17 points and adding five rebounds and four assists in 40 minutes. “It was great. I enjoyed it.”
Auguste, from Marlborough, Mass., scored 10 points and pulled down three rebounds in 20 minutes.
“It definitely felt like a home game,” he said. “It was great to play in front of my family because they can’t make it out to some games at Notre Dame, so it was great to have them here.”
After meeting the media, Connaughton headed out and met several hundred fans, one voice yelling, “Half of Arlington’s out there.”
His coach, Mike Bray, said, “You gotta admire him. That’s the definition of a man. He comes home, you got 400 people in the stands, most kids are a basket case and can’t deliver. He just flat out delivered and set the tone the whole night.”
Auguste estimated he had between 50 and 100 people at the game.
Connaughton was hot early and then again late as the Irish (14-12, 5-8 ACC) scored their first win in seven true road games this season. It was the second victory overall for Notre Dame, which has played without leading scorer Jerian Grant since the guard was lost to academic issues after 12 games.
Boston College suffered its latest tough defeat, losing for the seventh time this season by four points or fewer. The Eagles (6-19, 2-10) dropped their fifth in a row and fell for the eighth time in nine games.
“I want to win as bad as anybody, but there’s great growth going on that we’re not seeing on the scoreboard,” Boston College coach Steve Donahue said.
“Do we need more (growth)? Yeah. We need some pieces, but these guys have made great strides, and we just haven’t been able to figure out the defensive and the rebounding side of this, but we’re trying. We’re trying to get growth.”
The Fighting Irish built a nine-point lead midway through the second half and then held off every Boston College charge. The Eagles’ last run cut the lead to three in the closing seconds, but two free throws by center Garrick Sherman helped the Irish prevail despite allowing Boston College guard Patrick Heckmann to score six points in the final 18 seconds.
Guard Eric Atkins scored 16 points for the Irish, who swept the two-game season series from Boston College.
Guards Olivier Hanlan and Joe Rahon led the Eagles with 18 and 13 points, respectively, while forward Ryan Anderson had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Anderson scored 21 in Notre Dame’s 76-73 overtime win over Boston College on Feb. 1.
Connaughton, averaging 13.1 points per game coming in, scored nine straight points for his team in the opening six minutes, when Boston College built a five-point lead. He then scored six in a row for the Irish late in the game.
NOTES: Boston College observed a moment of silence before the game for long-time basketball sports information director Dick Kelley, who lost his battle with ALS. Flags outside Conte Forum were at half-staff, and all BC athletic teams are wearing “DK” on their uniforms. The BC coaches also wore “DK.” … Notre Dame continues a three-game road trip at Miami on Wednesday night, while Boston College plays at No. 1 Syracuse the same night. The Eagles led the Orange by eight points with 15:52 remaining Jan. 13 before losing by 10. … G Jerian Grant, lost to Notre Dame because of academics, was averaging 19.0 points per game, which is currently second in the ACC. He is out of school but vows to return for summer school. … The Eagles welcomed back all-time leading scorer Dana Barros, while former football start Alex Amidon, who recently finished as the school’s all-time leading receiver, was
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