CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Anthony Lawrence Jr. scored a season-high 18 points on just six shots, Angel Rodriguez added 12 points and No. 17 Miami beat Notre Dame 79-70 on Wednesday night.
Ja’Quan Newton and Sheldon McClellan had 12 points apiece for the Hurricanes (17-4, 6-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who extended their home winning streak to nine games. Tonye Jekiri grabbed 12 rebounds and Kamari Murphy scored 11 points for Miami.
Bonzie Colson scored 17 points for Notre Dame (15-7, 6-4). V.J. Beachem had 14 points and Zach Auguste had all 12 of his in the second half for the Fighting Irish.
Lawrence’s outburst was a well-received surprise for Miami. The freshman’s previous best was 13 points at Nebraska on Dec. 1 and to say he was a non-factor in ACC games this season would be an understatement.
In seven league-game appearances before Wednesday, Lawrence was 1 for 8 from the field for a total of four points in 39 minutes. But in this one, he was 5 for 6 from the field, including 4 for 4 from 3-point range.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame simply never got going.
Foul trouble limited Auguste, the Irish’s leading rebounder, to 6 first-half minutes and the Hurricanes took full advantage. Auguste — who came in averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds, but was limited to no points and one board in the first 20 minutes on Wednesday — picked up his second and went to the bench for the rest of the half.
When he left, Miami’s lead was 18-17.
When he came back to start the second half, Miami’s lead was 45-33. The Hurricanes went on a 13-4 run to close the half, and the Irish never got within single digits again until the final seconds.
Miami eventually pushed the lead out to 20 points, after McClellan’s 3-pointer with 8:06 left put the Hurricanes up 65-45.
Notre Dame: The Irish fell to 4-6 in games played at road or neutral sites this season. They were 15-4 in such games last season. … Notre Dame led for only 41 seconds in the early going. … Something to watch going into Saturday’s game against No. 2 North Carolina — Notre Dame hasn’t lost two straight games since the end of the 2013-14 season, going 12-0 in the game immediately following a defeat.
Miami: The Hurricanes improved to 14-1 this season when reaching at least 70 points, and 27-13 all-time in ACC home games under coach Jim Larranaga. … Rodriguez took a hard fall after being fouled on a drive with 17:47 left and was grabbing at his problematic left wrist afterward, but remained in the game after swishing two free throws. … Miami goes to Notre Dame on March 2.
Newton was booed by the home fans midway through the second half, with the Hurricanes leading 60-43, during a timeout no less.
The reason? In an appearance on the video screens over the court, Newton revealed that his favorite athlete is LeBron James — a predictably unpopular choice in Miami. Shortly after play resumed, Newton scored and cheers went his way again.
Ordinarily, fans aren’t allowed to go over to the ESPN personalities during a timeout and greet them. Ordinarily, those fans aren’t 7-foot, 450-pound men either. “The Big Show” — real name Paul Wight — of WWE fame, wearing a Hurricanes polo shirt, was escorted onto the court late in the game to greet ESPN broadcasters Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale and Jeff Van Gundy.
Notre Dame: Hosts No. 2 North Carolina on Saturday.
Miami: Visits Georgia Tech on Sunday.
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