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Akron vs Notre Dame

Notre Dame fights off pesky Akron to advance

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- Notre Dame's pace was off. The Irish were overanxious at the beginning of their NCAA opener, knowing that as a second seed they were expected to win against Akron.

Leading the scrappy Zips by four at the break, the Irish scored the first nine of the second half to build a more comfortable lead and then held on for a 69-56 victory Friday in the second round of the Southwest Regional.

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"It took us a long time to kind of calm down. I'm glad the halftime was 20 minutes because we needed all of it just to kind of ratchet our blood pressure down a little bit," coach Mike Brey said.

"We were better in the second half because our tempo was better."

Ben Hansbrough, whom Brey said was playing too fast in the first 20 minutes, finished with 15 points. Tim Abromaitis added 14, Scott Martin pitched in nine of his 11 points in the second half and Carleton Scott tied his high with 14 rebounds.

Next up for the Irish (27-6) is Florida State, a 57-50 winner over Texas A&M.

Martin -- a transfer from Purdue who sat out two seasons, one after blowing out his knee -- was a key in the second half, scoring six early points and getting the Irish on track.

"I think the great thing about it is that we played bad in the first half and we got better," Martin said. "Something we can take away from it is that we improved in the game and now we're back to where we should be and hopefully it will continue from here."

Hansbrough, the Big East Player of the Year who shot just 3-for-16 in a loss to Louisville in the semifinals of the conference tourney, was just 4 of 11 from the field but was 6 for 6 from the line and had six assists.

"I thought he forced plays at times in the first half. In the second half, his decision making was excellent, and it helped us flow," Brey said.

The 15th-seeded Zips (23-13) were appearing in just their third NCAA Division I tournament and second in three years. Entering the game, they'd won 11 of their previous 13, beating Kent State in the Mid-American Conference tournament to get into the tournament.

Their defense played Notre Dame's motion offense tough, especially with 7-footer Zeke Marshall there to block four shots and change the trajectory of numerous others.

"We fought back. We just couldn't put enough baskets together on a continuous basis to win," Akron coach Keith Dambrot said. "That's what a mid-major has to do to beat a high major with a seed that high is you have to shoot the ball better than that, really.

"We felt like we got good shots even from the outside that just didn't go in for us tonight. We thought we could score on them, but we just didn't. I thought it was going to be a bigger challenge to guard them, and we actually did a decent job."

Quincy Diggs led Akron with 11 points. The Zips shot only 35.9 percent and Marshall was just 2 for 13 from the floor.

"I had four 2-foot layups I missed in the early part of the game. I don't really recall that it was their defense that caused me to miss. It was just me missing," said Marshall, who also couldn't get a dunk to go down.

The Irish had a huge advantage at the foul line, shooting 20 for 26 to just 3 for 6 for the Zips.

With Notre Dame up 34-30 at the half, Tyrone Nash's three-point play and Martin's jumper got the Irish off to a quick start. A middle-of-the-lane jumper by Scott and another basket by Martin put the Irish up 43-30 as Akron missed its first eight shots of the half.

The Zips later ran off seven straight points to get back in it. They stayed within five when Marshall -- 1 for 11 from the field at that point -- dropped in a basket off an inbound pass with just more than 10 minutes to go.

Abromaitis, who got off only two shots in the first half, then sank his second 3-pointer and Scott hit a jumper from the baseline, was fouled and converted a three-point play for a 55-44 lead.

"I think with Abromaitis, he is a pretty steady guy," Brey said. "You just let him play. Those were two big shots he hit. We needed key buckets there."

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Scoreboard
Akron #15 302656
Notre Dame #2 «343569
AKR:Q. Diggs 11 Pts
AKR:N. Cvetinovic 6 Reb
AKR:A. Abreu 4 Ast
ND:B. Hansbrough 15 Pts
ND:C. Scott 14 Reb
ND:B. Hansbrough 6 Ast

Related Video

 
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
AkronNotre Dame
AKR
Quincy Diggs
ND
Ben Hansbrough
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
11301536
Akron Zips
Z. Marshall, C322-131-26235
S. McNees, G313-90-01138
N. Cvetinovic, F253-70-06236
D. Roberts, G242-60-01105
B. McClanahan, G232-52-24017
Q. Diggs, G245-70-230311
A. Abreu, G183-40-04447
B. McKnight, F163-120-02027
M. Bardo, C70-00-00020
J. Egner, F10-10-00000
K. Petersen, GDid Not Play
C. Gilliam, FDid Not Play
C. Oldham, FDid Not Play
D. Euton, FDid Not Play
M. Green, FDid Not Play
B. Walsh, GDid Not Play
Totals 23-643-627102156
 35.9%50.0% 
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
B. Hansbrough, G404-116-636115
C. Scott, F353-81-114218
T. Nash, F323-83-77319
S. Martin, G314-83-464311
T. Abromaitis, F303-65-540114
E. Atkins, G282-42-20138
J. Cooley, F42-20-11014
T. Kopko, GDid Not Play
M. Broghammer, FDid Not Play
J. Brooks, GDid Not Play
T. Knight, FDid Not Play
A. Dragicevich, GDid Not Play
J. Grant, GDid Not Play
Totals 21-4720-2635161169
 44.7%76.9% 
Mid-American
EastConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Buffalo0-07-225
Kent St.0-08-3133
Bowling Green0-06-3111
Akron0-07-4128
Ohio0-04-6225
Miami (Ohio)0-03-8289
WestConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
C. Michigan0-09-1124
E. Michigan0-010-297
Toledo0-07-4183
W. Michigan0-07-4179
N. Illinois0-04-5280
Ball St.0-03-6283

ACC
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Notre Dame1-012-1102
N.C. State1-010-360
Virginia0-011-04
Duke0-010-05
Louisville0-011-116
Miami (Fla.)0-09-379
N. Carolina0-09-314
Pittsburgh0-09-378
Georgia Tech0-08-344
Va. Tech0-08-4258
Clemson0-07-4157
Syracuse0-07-483
Boston College0-06-4165
Florida St.0-17-5180
Wake Forest0-16-6201
 
Other games
OAK 81 Final
Texas 85
Tenn 45 Final
Michigan 75
NOVA 57 Final
Geo Mas 61
Memphis 75 Final
Arizona 77
HAMP 45 Final
DUKE 87
Florida St 57 Final
Tx A&M 50
UTSA 46 Final
Ohio St 75
BU 53 Final
Kansas 72
LIU 87 Final
NC 102
SPU 43 Final
Purdue 65
MU 66 Final
XAV 55
Illinois 73 Final
UNLV 62
VCU 74 Final
GU 56
Georgia 65 Final
Wash 68
Indiana St 60 Final
Syracuse 77