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CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – The Miami Hurricanes will put their long home winning streak to the test as ACC play continues.
Notre Dame attempts to start 4-0 in conference play for the first time in program history when the No. 20 Fighting Irish visit Miami on Thursday night.
Notre Dame, which is coming off a home victory against Clemson, is 3-0 for the second time as a member of the ACC but never started with four straight league wins in the ACC or during their time in the Big East.
Notre Dame needed strong finishes in all three ACC victories, outscoring their foes 25-6 in the final combined 6:42 to defeat Pittsburgh (78-77 in overtime), No. 15 Louisville (77-70) and Clemson (75-70).
“We know how to finish and we know how to take people’s hearts,” Irish coach Mike Brey told reporters after the victory over the Tigers. “We have had three physically and emotionally demanding wins. We’ve put ourselves in great position. Now we go into road dog mode. I’m excited to go on the road with these guys because they are winners.”
The Hurricanes, who have won 21 games in a row at home, play for the first time in eight days after struggling on both ends of the floor in a 70-55 loss at Syracuse that ended a seven-game winning streak.
The Hurricanes shot 38.9 percent from the field and made 2-of-10 foul shots while the Orange hit a sizzling 56.8 percent against a Miami team that ranked No. 16 in Division I in field-goal percentage defense (38.4) through Tuesday’s games.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
ABOUT NOTRE DAME (14-2, 3-0 ACC): With a starting five that includes two seniors and three juniors, the Irish are one of the nation’s most efficient offensive teams, ranking No. 1 in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.89) and free-throw shooting (84 percent) and No. 17 in 3-point field-goal percentage (40.2) percent while averaging 82.3 points.
Guards Steve Vasturia (15.0 points), the much-improved Matt Farrell (14.0, team-leading 5.4 assists) and forward VJ Beachem (14.6), who is coming off a 22-point game against Clemson, have combined to hit 102 shots from beyond the arc to fuel the high-octane offense and open up the lane for forward Bonzie Colson.
The senior leads the Irish in scoring (16.4) while ranking No. 9 in the country in rebounding (10.8).
ABOUT MIAMI (11-3, 1-1): Miami’s offense, and leading scorers Ja’Quan Newton (15.2 points, 4.1 assists) and Davon Reed (14.0) in particular, had trouble finding open shots against the Orange with the junior point guard shooting 3-of-12 while turning the ball over four times and the senior going 2-of-11.
The one bright spot in the loss was freshman D.J. Vasiljevic, Miami’s 3-point specialist, who came off the bench to shoot 6-of-12 from long distance on his way to scoring a career-high 18 points.
The Hurricanes, who usually have a big edge at the foul line because of their ability to limit their foes’ attempts, have suddenly gone ice cold, hitting only 50 percent of their free-throw attempts over the past three games, including their woeful 20 percent performance against the Orange.
- The Hurricanes defeated the Irish twice last season to tie the series at 10.
- Farrell is averaging 11.4 points more than he did last season as a sophomore.
- Miami freshman G Bruce Brown is proving to be a versatile player for Jim Larranaga, ranking third on the team in scoring (10.4 points), second in assists (3.2) and second in rebounds (7.3)
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