Fighting Irish Survive and Advance

Notre Dame overcomes second-half drought, determined Miami

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) --  Steve Vasturia hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 6:13 left and No. 11 Notre Dame overcame a blown 20-point lead to hold off Miami 70-63 on Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

Vasturia’s 3 helped the Fighting Irish (27-5) survive a disastrous collapse in which the Hurricanes (21-12) came all the way back to take a two-point lead with 6 1/2 minutes left.

He finished with a team-high 16 points on a bizarre night for third-seeded Notre Dame. The Irish couldn’t miss and looked dominant in the first half only to do the exact opposite after the break.

Still, the Irish did just enough to hang on for their first tournament win after a first-day exit from last year’s debut season. They advance to the semifinals to face No. 2 Duke.

Angel Rodriguez scored 15 points to lead sixth-seeded Miami, which came so close to the kind of win the Hurricanes needed in Greensboro to help improve whatever chance they had of earning an NCAA Tournament bid.

Trailing by 18 at halftime, Miami ran off a 19-2 spurt to erase most of the deficit. Then Sheldon McClellan’s two free throws pushed them to a 51-49 lead with 6:30 left, only to see Vasturia bury the 3 from the left corner off a feed from Jerian Grant to take the lead right back.

Vasturia’s 3 started a 9-2 burst that reclaimed momentum. Then Vasturia came up with two key plays late with his team holding just a three-point lead, scoring on a long runout off an inbounds pass with 50.4 seconds left then stealing a pass from Davon Reed on the next possession.

Notre Dame shot 63 percent and went 8 for 13 from 3-point range in the first half to take its 43-25 lead at the break, but missed its first 10 shots of the second half and didn’t manage its first basket until 12 minutes in.

Had Miami been able to hang on to its slim lead, it would’ve been the second-biggest halftime deficit overcome to win at the tournament, and the biggest since Maryland rallied from 19 down to beat North Carolina State in the 2004 semifinals.

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TIP-INS

Miami: The Hurricanes hit four of their five 3-pointers in the second half after going just 1-for-10 before the break. ... Miami made 14 of 16 free throws in the second half. ... Tonye Jekiri had 11 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out with 3:26 left.

Notre Dame: Pat Connaughton scored 14 points on 5-for-5 shooting in the first half, then didn’t score again. ... Notre Dame shot 6-for-19 (32 percent) after halftime...