SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Luke Harangody scored four of his 22 points and had a blocked shot during a decisive 10-point run to lead Notre Dame to a 70-64 victory over Alabama-Birmingham in the first round of the NIT Tuesday night.
Harangody's basket inside gave the Irish (19-14) a 60-50 lead. Robert Vaden, who led UAB (22-12) with 24 points, hit back-to-back 3s to cut the lead to 60-56 with 3:50 left. But a three-point play by Harangody ended the run.
Tyrone Nash started the decisive run with a tip-in off a miss by Harangody and a pair of free throws. Harangody gave the Irish a 56-50 lead on a dunk, then blocked a shot inside by UAB's Paul Delaney III. UAB coach Mike Davis was called for a technical for leaving the coach's box while arguing that Delaney was fouled.
After Kyle McAlarney, who had 12 points for the Irish, made a pair of free throws, Harangody capped the run with a basket inside.
The Irish play the winner of the New Mexico-Nebraska game.
Notre Dame improved to 5-3 on St. Patrick's Day, including 4-1 in NIT games.
The announced attendance was 2,039, the lowest attendance for a Notre Dame NIT game since at least 1992.
The Blazers outscored the Irish 36-26 inside, but were just 5-of-13 from the free-throw line. They also got no points from the bench, while the Irish got 16 points from their reserves.
It was an unsuccessful return home for Vaden, who is from Indianapolis and started two seasons at Indiana until following Davis to UAB in 2006. Vaden was 9-of-16 from the floor, including 6-of-13 from 3-point range.
Harangody added 10 rebounds for the Irish, who had a 40-38 edge on the boards. Lawrence Kinnard pulled down 15 rebounds for the Blazers.
The Irish opened the second half making 1-of-11 shots from the field as the Blazers used an 8-0 run, capped by a reverse layup by Vaden, to move ahead 46-41. Delaney also had a pair of baskets during the run, scoring seven points in the first four minutes of the second half.
Moments later, though, the Irish tied the score at 48 on back-to-back 3s by Tory Jackson and McAlarney.
For much of the first half the two teams matched each other shot for shot, with the Blazers closing to 31-30 on a basket inside by Delaney.
Tyrone Nash scored in the paint for the Irish and Ryan Ayers hit back-to-back 3s to give Notre Dame a 39-30 lead. The Irish had five chances to extend the lead, but couldn't sink a shot.
The Blazers cut the lead to 39-35 when Vaden hit the final two baskets of the half, including a 3-pointer with 1 second left. Vaden had 16 points in the first half.