SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — V.J. Beachem was not going to let another slow start against Boston College ruin his senior night.
Playing his final home game, Beachem scored 22 points to lead No. 19 Notre Dame to its sixth straight win, 82-66 over Boston College on Wednesday night.
After falling behind by 10 points in an eventual comeback win against the Eagles two weeks ago, the Irish again got off to a slow start against BC, falling behind by seven in the first half.
Beachem responded by knocking down two 3-pointers during a 15-0 run while Boston College went over 6 minutes without a field goal, and the Irish led the rest of the way.
“Knowing it was senior night, (we were) thinking we couldn’t go out of here with a loss,” Beachem said. “Just to get a win with my brothers for the last time on this court was great.”
Bonzie Colson added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Irish (23-7, 12-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), who have all but locked up a top-four finish in the ACC and a double-bye for next week’s conference tournament.
“We stuck with it, we played defense and we rebounded,” said Colson who picked up his ACC-best 18th double-double of the season. “We’re playing really well right now.”
Ky Bowman scored 19 points and Mo Jeffers had 12 points and 12 rebounds for Boston College (9-21, 2-15 ACC), which has lost 13 in a row and 15 of 16.
“I thought we took some questionable shots, especially when we had the lead 26-19,” Eagles coach Jim Christian said. “We didn’t stick to doing what we were doing to get the lead.”
Matt Farrell and Rex Pflueger hit consecutive 3-pointers to cap a 10-2 run that extended the Irish lead to 16 points with 11:31 to play. Farrell finished with 14 points.
After scoring 15 in the first half, Beachem turned in the highlight of the game with a baseline drive and twisting scoop shot from behind the backboard with 6:40 to play.
“He’s in a great rhythm, man,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “He’s feeling really good about himself.”
Notre Dame: With a win at No. 8 Louisville, combined with a North Carolina loss to Duke on Saturday, the Irish would earn a share of the ACC regular season title.
“I told them I don’t want anybody thinking about a double-bye, I want us thinking about trying to share the regular season championship,” Brey said. “If we win on Saturday, we’ll root for the Blue Devils on Saturday night and we’ll see where we stand.”
Sitting at 6-5 in the ACC on Feb. 4, the possibility of playing for a share of the conference title wasn’t exactly on the minds of the Fighting Irish.
“Most importantly, we just never lost the belief,” guard Steve Vasturia said. “We went through a rough patch and this team showed that you’ve got to stand up to adversity.”
“We’ve got a lot to play for Saturday night,” Beachem said.
Playing their last home game at Purcell Pavilion, seniors Vasturia and Beachem have helped the Irish win 94 games during their four years, tying them for the fifth-most wins in program history, three away from matching the 97 victories the 2009-10 class compiled.
Graduate student Patrick Mazza, a former walk-on defensive end for the Notre Dame football team, also got to contribute in his only season with the basketball team, throwing down a two-handed dunk with 20 seconds to play for his first collegiate points.
Boston College: The Eagles finish the regular season at Clemson on Saturday.
Notre Dame: The Irish also play their regular season finale on the road, at No. 8 Louisville on Saturday.
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