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No. 10 Notre Dame holds off Hanlan, Boston College

Feb 5, 2015 - 5:32 AM South Bend, IN ( - With a rematch against No. 4 Duke on the horizon, it would not be too much of a surprise to see 10th-ranked Notre Dame get caught looking ahead with Boston College entering Purcell Pavilion on Wednesday.

The Irish used a strong start to get out to a large lead in the first half, then had to hold off the surging Eagles in the second for a 71-63 win.

Jerian Grant and Steve Vasturia each scored 17 points to lead Notre Dame (21-3, 9-2 ACC), which has won six of its last seven entering Saturday's game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The Irish slipped past Duke at home last Wednesday before a 76-72 loss at Pittsburgh over the weekend.

"I'm thrilled with how we bounced back," Irish coach Mike Brey said. "We talked about that for two days--bouncing back. We had two good days of practice. I thought, the first two minutes, that what we were doing offensively was off the charts, and we combined it with really solid defense to give us a big cushion that we eventually needed."

Zach Auguste had 16 points with five rebounds and Pat Connaughton added 11 points in the win.

Olivier Hanlan poured in a season-high 28 points on 6-of-9 shooting from 3- point range for Boston College (9-12, 1-8).

Boston College got a jolt of momentum in the latter stages of the first half, as Hanlan and Dimitri Batten fired in consecutive 3-pointers to cut its deficit to 41-25 at halftime.

The Eagles continued to chip away at the margin early in the second with consecutive baskets from Dennis Clifford to begin the half. The Irish responded, however, with two straight buckets. They slowly built another healthy margin by the midway point of the second as Grant's free throw capped a 7-2 burst for a 52-33 lead.

Boston College did not falter, though, going on a quick 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 11 with 5:49 remaining. Hanlan then buried a transition 3 with under three minutes to play and the deficit reached single digits for the first time since early in the opening half.

Hanlan, who scored 14 of the Eagles' final 16 points, hit two more treys moments later to make it a 64-58 deficit, but Vasturia answered with a corner 3 to restore a nine-point edge. Hanlan made another 3 prior to Grant's turnover that could have proved costly for the hosts. However, Patrick Heckmann missed a 3 at the other end which led to Demetrius Jackson converting an open dunk on a run-out with a minute left.

Notre Dame made 10 of its first 14 shots to open the game, racing out to a comfortable lead by the second media timeout. Connaughton hit a pair of 3- pointers in the opening minutes as the Irish quickly jumped out to a double- digit advantage, then Grant hit successive 3s before Auguste's layup capped a 25-4 surge that gave Notre Dame a 34-9 lead.

"We couldn't have started the game any worse," Eagles coach Jim Christian said. "They're an excellent basketball team; it really had a lot to do with them."

Aaron Brown countered Auguste with a 3-pointer that ended over an eight-minute stretch without a basket for the Eagles.

Game Notes

Boston College has lost five of its last six overall ... Notre Dame made 25- of-50 from the floor, limiting the Eagles to 25-of-57 shooting ... Jackson grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds in the win ... The Irish led by as many as 25 ... Boston College welcomes No. 12 North Carolina to Chestnut Hill on Saturday.