Jan. 12, 2017
By Robby Hamman
CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Notre Dame (15-2, 4-0 ACC) has made a habit of winning ACC games in the waning minutes to begin conference play and Thursday evening was no exception, as the Irish defeated Miami (11-4, 1-2 ACC) by a final score of 67-62 in Coral Gables, Florida. Notre Dame outscored the Hurricanes 10-1 over the last 2:30 of action to win. Senior guard Steve Vasturia finished at the rim with eight seconds left to push the lead to three at 65-62 and then senior forward V.J. Beachem came up with a steal to seal the victory.
With the win, Notre Dame remains perfect in league action with a 4-0 record, the best mark in program history. The Irish and Florida State are the final two unbeaten teams in ACC play this season. The Irish also snapped Miami’s 21-game home winning streak in the winning effort.
Junior guard Matt Farrell continued his great run of play, leading the Irish with 15 points and adding six assists and four rebounds. Beachem added 13 points and Vasturia chipped in 10 to allow Notre Dame to prevail.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Hurricanes jumped out to an early lead, building a six-point advantage at 18-12 with 8:35 left in the first half. The Irish methodically chipped away deficit, outscoring Miami 14-7 over the next four minutes of action to take their first lead of the evening at 26-25. The two sides went into the halftime break tied at 28-28.
Notre Dame’s offense came out hot to start the second stanza, as the Irish scored 11 of the first 13 points to jump out to a nine-point lead at 39-30. Notre Dame managed to increase its advantage to a game-high 11 points with just under 10 minutes left in the game, leading the Hurricanes 50-39. Miami answered with a 22-7 run of its own to go on top 61-57 with less than three minutes to play, setting up Notre Dame’s strong finish.
NOTRE DAME PLAYER OF THE GAME
Vasturia was all over the floor on Thursday, as the senior stuffed the stat sheet against the Hurricanes. The Medford, New Jersey, native finished the night with 10 points on 5-of-10 shooting, six rebounds, six assists and two steals in 35 minutes of playing time. The six assists mark a season high for the senior.
STAT OF THE GAME
Notre Dame did a great job of taking care of the ball on Thursday, committing just six turnovers over the 40 minutes of play. Even more impressive, the Irish recorded one turnover in the second half to get the win. Notre Dame also dished out 15 assists in the victory.
NOTES OF THE GAME
- The Irish improve to 11-10 against the Hurricanes in the all-time series and 5-5 when playing at Miami.
- Notre Dame has now outscored its first four ACC opponents 35-7 in the final 9:35 (combined) of its first four conference wins, as the Irish outscored the Hurricanes 10-1 over the final 2:53 of Thursday’s contest.
- Entering Thursday as the best free-throw shooting team in the nation, the Irish knocked down 12-of-14 attempts from the stripe to improve their percentage to .841 on the season.
- Beachem scored 10-plus point for the 14th time this season and 48th time in his career.
- Farrell finished in double figures in points for the 13th time this season. The junior has also dished out six-plus assists in 11 games during the 2016-17 campaign.
- With 10 points, Vasturia has tallied double digits in the scoring column 14 times this season and 64 times in his career.
- Junior forward Bonzie Colson was a beast on the boards, leading the team with 11 rebounds. The junior has grabbed double-digit rebounds in 11 games this season.
- Colson becomes the 4th player under head coach Mike Brey to reach the 500-rebound mark by the end of his junior year (currently at 510), joining Pat Connaughton (541), Torin Francis (686) and Luke Harangody (949).
- Vasturia finished in double-figure scoring for his fourth consecutive outing and has scored 10-plus points in 13 games this season.
- Senior forward Austin Torres provided a big lift off the bench, scoring a season-high eight points on 4-of-5 shooting.
The Irish play their second game in the three game road swing, as Notre Dame travels to Blacksburg, Virginia to play Virginia Tech at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14.
— ND —
Robby Hamman joined Fighting Irish Media as athletics communications assistant director in September 2016, coordinating efforts for the volleyball and men’s lacrosse program. Hamman is a 2010 graduate of Bethel College, where he earned bachelor’s degrees in sport management and business administration, and earned his master’s degree in business administration from Defiance College in 2013.