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Notre Dame downs Akron to advance

Mar 18, 2011 - 10:29 PM Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - There was no one-and-done disappointment for Notre Dame this year.

Ben Hansbrough had 15 points and handed out six assists, as the Fighting Irish beat the Akron Zips, 69-56, in a Southwest Region matchup.

Tim Abromaitis scored 14 points and Scott Martin added 11 with six rebounds for second-seeded Notre Dame (27-6), which lost its NCAA Tournament opener to Old Dominion in 2010 as a No. 6 seed. The Fighting Irish will next take on Florida State in the third round on Sunday.

"I'm glad we won," said Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey. "We're in that mode of surviving and advancing. I think we will address a little bit and watch some film of great offensive possessions and forced offensive possessions, because if we have too many forced ones on Sunday, we'll be done."

Quincy Diggs notched 11 points to pace the 15th-seeded Zips (23-13), who captured the Mid-American Conference's automatic bid with a 66-65 overtime victory over Kent State in the league tourney's title game.

Notre Dame led by as many as 11 before Akron trimmed its deficit to 34-30 at halftime.

The Fighting Irish opened the second half on a 9-0 run, stretching their lead to 13 on a Martin jumper. Akron made another run to close within five, at 45-40, but Notre Dame pulled away with a 14-5 surge. Abromaitis sank a pair from the foul line to put the Fighting Irish up 59-45 with just under five minutes remaining.

The outcome was never in doubt down the stretch.

"We fought back. We just couldn't put enough baskets together on a continuous basis to win," said Akron head coach Keith Dambrot.

Game Notes

Hansbrough shot 4-of-11 from the field...Carleton Scott finished with eight points, 14 rebounds and three blocks for Notre Dame...The Zips are winless in three appearances in the NCAA Tournament.