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No. 9 Notre Dame gets by Seton Hall

Feb 27, 2011 - 4:15 AM South Bend, IN (Sports Network) - Tim Abromaitis scored 22 points and Ben Hansbrough added 21, as ninth-ranked Notre Dame used a suffocating defense in the second half to down Seton Hall, 60-48, at the Joyce Center.

The aforementioned duo combined for 15 rebounds and a 6-of-14 showing from beyond the three-point arc. Carleton Scott tallied eight points and 10 boards for the Fighting Irish (23-5, 12-4 Big East), who are in second place in the conference behind Pittsburgh (13-2). The Panthers play at Louisville on Sunday.

Notre Dame, which moved to 16-0 at home this season and won its 18th in a row at the Joyce Center, has been on a roll. The Irish have won nine of their last 10 games overall heading into their last two regular season contests - at home against Villanova on Monday and at Connecticut next Saturday.

"We found a way to get out of there. In the second half, we were better defensively and more efficient offensively," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "In the first half, we didn't do enough stuff defensively, and maybe it's because we missed our shots and hung our heads a little. We were very fortunate to be down three at halftime. We finished the half with a little momentum and then we found our identity the last 20 minutes."

Jeff Robinson had 16 points and Jeremy Hazell 14 for the Pirates (11-17, 5-11), who were held to 21 second-half points and lost for the fifth time in their last six games.

The Pirates, who were held to 30.4 percent shooting for the game, went 7-of-26 from the field in the second half.

"I thought they did a good job in the second half of getting dribble penetration whereas in the first half we did a good job of keeping them out of the lane," Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. "Hansbrough made some tough plays, and also made some really good passes. We play good defense and Abromaitis is able to hit a tough shot. Later we foul with one second on the shot clock. Those plays add up. We did a lot of stupid things on defense we don't usually do and when you're on the road that sometimes happens."

Robinson's three-point play to start the final period boosted Seton Hall's lead to 30-24, but the Pirates went ice cold over the next 5 1/2 minutes. During that time, Notre Dame embarked on a 13-0 spurt. Abromaitis started the rally with a jumper and Hansbrough's free throw capped the push for a 37-30 margin with 14:27 remaining.

Hazell finally broke Seton Hall's spell with a layup 15 seconds later, and the Pirates crawled within one twice, the last time at 44-43 on Fuquan Edwin's layup with 7:14 to go.

Robinson's three-ball had the visitors within 48-46 with barely under five minutes left, but the Irish squashed any hopes Seton Hall had of an upset by scoring the next eight points, started by three-balls from Hansbrough and Scot Martin. Hansbrough's jumper finished off the run for a 56-46 difference with 2:03 left.

The Pirates took early control as Patrik Auda's three-pointer made it 25-14 with under three minutes left in the half. The Irish cut the deficit to 27-24 at the break.

"I think that we had our worst first half of the year," Hansbrough said. "Sometimes that happens though. It's not about how you start, it's about how you finish sometimes. We came out in the second half really focused, and it showed."

Game Notes

Former Irish great Austin Carr, who played at the school from 1968-71 and still remains the school's all-time leader with 2,560 career points and a 34.6 career scoring average, was the third individual to be inducted into the Notre Dame Basketball Ring of Honor...Seton Hall is 1-8 this season against ranked opponents...Hazell moved into third place on Seton Hall's all-time career scoring list. He moved past Greg Tynes (2,059) and is behind only Terry Dehere (2,494) and Nick Werkman (2,273)...The Irish lead the series 17-8, including a 10-1 advantage at home. Notre Dame has won eight of the past nine encounters in the series...Abromaitis has 1,000 career points, becoming the 51st player in Notre Dame history to reach the plateau...Hazell, who went 1-of-7 from long distance, passed Dehere (315) for the most three-pointers made in Seton Hall history.