(WSCR) – Notre Dame is off to a great start with their now 9-1 record. Gonzanga made a strong push during the second half, but the Irish continued to out-score the Bulldogs.
By RICK GANO
AP Sports Writer
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Carleton Scott scored a career-high 23 points, Tim Abromaitis added 21 and Ben Hansbrough hit four free throws in final 12 seconds Saturday night as Notre Dame held on to beat Gonzaga 83-79.
The Irish (9-1), coming off a loss to Kentucky, got eight straight points from Abromaitis to break a tie early in the second half and staved off a late rally before a boisterous home crowd.
Gonzaga (4-5) lost to a Top 25 team for the fourth time this season. The Bulldogs have struggled to defend the 3-pointer and did so again as Notre Dame hit 11 of 20 from beyond the arc.
Elias Harris scored 19 and Steve Gray had 18 for the Bulldogs.
Notre Dame, which missed 12-of-36 free throw attempts, led by 13 in the second half and was up by 10 with 1:18 to go.
But after Harris hit two free throws, Gonzaga’s press forced a turnover and Gray hit his fifth 3-pointer of the night to cut the lead to 75-70 with a minute left.
And after Notre Dame’s Eric Atkins missed two from the line, Harris scored from inside to make it a three-point game. Scott then made 1 of 2 from the line with 32.8 seconds left, putting the Irish up four.
After Gray missed a 3-point attempt, Atkins came up with a loose ball, was fouled with 19.9 seconds left. He missed the first and sank the second for a five-point lead.
Gonzaga’s Mangisto Arop made a 3-pointer with 12 seconds remaining to slice it to 79-77. Hansbrough then sank four free throws – the final two with about 3 seconds left- as Notre Dame held on.
Scott scored 19 points in the first half – two more than his previous high for an entire game – and Notre Dame led 43-37.
But Gonzaga got a dunk from Robert Sacre and a steal from Marquise Carter that led to a basket on a goaltending call, tying the game at 50-50 five minutes into the second half.
Abromaitis then foiled the Bulldogs’ zone defense by sinking back-to-back 3-pointers – his third and fourth of the game. And after a Gonzaga turnover, he got loose on the baseline, took a nice pass from Tyrone Nash and dunked to put the Irish up by eight.
Minutes later, he hit a pair of free throws and then after a nice fake canned a jumper as Notre Dame’s lead went to 11 with under nine minutes remaining.