- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 9, 2016

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) - Notre Dame coach Mike Brey was glad Zach Auguste got mad after spending much of the first half on the bench in foul trouble in the Fighting Irish’s 89-83 win over Clemson on Monday night.

Auguste dominated both the offensive and defensive end, scored 15 of his 19 points during the final 20 minutes and held the Tigers two centers to just five points and five rebounds.

“He was a man - what he gave us in the second half,” Brey said. “He came out and gave us a great physical effort and set the tone.”

The win keeps Notre Dame (17-7, 8-4 Atlantic Coast) in line to finish in the top four seeds at the ACC tournament and get a double bye. The Irish had one last year, and took advantage of only having to win three games to pick up their first ACC title.

Notre Dame never trailed, but Clemson (14-10, 7-5) kept it close for most of the game. The Fighting Irish were up 50-47 when Clemson’s Donte Grantham was called for a charge on a close call driving to the basket.

Notre Dame scored on 11 of its next 12 possessions. Auguste had three baskets on powerful inside moves and the Irish hit five 3-pointers as the lead ballooned to 77-64.

Demetrius Jackson scored 17 points, V.J. Beachem added 15 points, Bonzie Colson 11 points and eight rebounds and Steve Vasturia scored 10 for the Irish.

“They’ve got older players that play with poise. They always have five guys on the floor that can score,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “Tonight they got something from everybody.”

The Irish shot 10-of-22 on 3-pointers, and Auguste said that was critical to open him up inside.

“We’re a very unselfish team. Our offense is great when it is flowing,” Auguste said.

Jaron Blossomgame scored a career-best 30 for the Tigers, who likely fell all the way off the NCAA tournament bubble. Their chances of climbing back on with an impressive win are dwindling. Five of Clemson’s last six regular season games are against teams in the bottom four of the ACC.

Auguste dominated despite foul trouble in the first half. He and his teammates also frustrated Clemson’s big men. Starting center Landry Nnoko was 0-for-1 with three points and four rebounds in 28 minutes.

Nnoko “passed a couple out when he probably could have tried to score. Fumbled a couple. He just didn’t get into a rhythm,” Brownell said.

His backup, Sidy Djitte, was 1-for-3 with two points and one rebound. He had four fouls in 10 minutes.

TIP INS

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish turned the ball over five times Monday, with none coming in the second half. They lead the country averaging just 9.2 turnovers a game and lost the ball only two times in last week’s 80-76 win over North Carolina … The Irish made 21 of 25 free throws after shooting 31-of-38 from the foul line against the Tar Heels.

Clemson: The Tigers made10 of 20 3-pointers. … The Irish remain the only current ACC team Clemson has not beaten. The Tigers are now 0-4 against Notre Dame … It was Clemson’s first ACC loss in its home-away-from-home in Greenville at the Bon Secours Wellness Center.

MOVING ON UP

Brey hasn’t been sure what to think of his Irish team at times this season. Losses to Monmouth and Alabama before ACC play had many rethinking the preseason pick of fourth in the ACC.

But beating then No. 2 North Carolina 80-76, then turning around and going to Clemson two days later for this win has Brey thinking he has a tough team that can make some noise in March.

“These last 48 hours were very important for us. We’ve made great strides,” Brey said.

CLEMSON’S WOES

The Tigers lost back-to-back games for the first time since December, and Brownell is glad they get five days before their next game.

“We need to take a couple of days. We’re beat up, we’re tired, we’re sick. We don’t feel great, and we probably shouldn’t feel great. We haven’t played as well the past couple of weeks,” Brownell said.

UP NEXT

Notre Dame hosts No. 13 Louisville on Saturday.

Clemson hosts Georgia Tech on Saturday.

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