Feb. 24, 2016
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP)– Notre Dame hasn’t lost very often during the past two seasons. Those defeats never come in bunches.
Zach Auguste had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and the 23rd-ranked Fighting Irish beat Wake Forest 69-58 on Wednesday night.
”Our two main guys kind of willed us,” coach Mike Brey said of Auguste and Jackson. ”They were flat-out fabulous.”
That 63-62 loss at Georgia Tech three nights earlier was just their 13th since the start of last season. They haven’t lost consecutive games in nearly two years.
”It’s really pretty powerful that you haven’t lost two in a row,” Brey said.
They swept the season series against Wake Forest by shooting 44 percent and hitting 10 of 10 free throws in the final 2:01.
Freshman John Collins had 16 points in his first start for the Demon Deacons (11-17, 2-14), who have lost 12 of 13 with the only victory in that stretch coming against a Boston College team that hasn’t won an ACC game.
They trailed by 10 with 11 minutes left before making things tense for a while down the stretch.
Wake Forest pulled to 59-55 on Collins’ layup with 3 1/2 minutes left, but the Demon Deacons missed their final six shots.
”The game got called a lot tighter, and we should have really done a better job of just putting our heads down and driving it in there, to be honest with you,” coach Danny Manning said. ”Chances are, you’ll get to the free-throw line.”
That’s pretty much where Notre Dame won this one.
Auguste hit four straight free throws to make it an eight-point game, and Jackson hit four in a row in the final minute before V.J. Beachem hit two with 5.7 seconds left.
The Fighting Irish haven’t lost two in a row since the end of the 2013-14 season, when they dropped the final three games while finishing 15-17 – a year that was punctuated by a first-day loss to Wake Forest at the ACC Tournament.
It sure helped that Jackson got hot in the second half. He averages a team-best 16.4 points but missed all four of his shots in the first half, including two 3-pointers, before finally making it to double figures for the sixth time in seven games.
”For a while, Jackson just took over the ball game,” Manning said.
Doral Moore added 13 points for the Demon Deacons, who played their second game without leading rebounder Devin Thomas while he served the final game of a two-game suspension for violating undisclosed rules.
Wake Forest’s seven turnovers were a season low. But five of them belonged to senior guard Codi Miller-McIntyre. Only once in his career has he had more – he had a six-giveaway game against North Carolina State as a freshman in 2013. Miller-McIntyre also finished with two points on 1-of-7 shooting, with a layup attempt with about 3 minutes left ricocheting off the bottom of the backboard.
”I’m going to go eat some barbecue and head to Tallahassee, baby.” – Brey
Notre Dame: Auguste grabbed his 700th career rebound in the first half. He’s the 19th player in program history with that many. … The Fighting Irish improved to 10-1 against teams from the state of North Carolina since the start of the 2014-15 season. ”We kind of like Tobacco Road, quite frankly,” Brey said.
Notre Dame visits Florida State on Saturday.