BOSTON — Notre Dame's players showed their usual efficient offense. Coach Mike Brey was most impressed by their defense.
Demetrius Jackson scored eight of his 17 points during a 21-4 key run in the first half that carried Notre Dame to an 82-54 win over Boston College on Thursday night.
Entering the game with all five starters averaging in double figures, Brey had a new goal for the group.
"Our challenge the last couple of days was improving defensively," he said. "My challenge was: 'you play so good offensively. Why can't you have each other's back more on the defensive end?'"
They responded, holding BC to 33.3 percent from the floor.
Bonzie Colson added 16 points, Zach Auguste had 15 and Steve Vasturia added 13 for the Fighting Irish (10-4, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). Notre Dame shot 62.3 percent in the game, hitting 11 of 17 on 3-point attempts.
"I think offensively we're in tune," Auguste said. "I think we're playing great basketball, great passing and great shooters. We were in a great offensive flow and it's fun to play with each other."
Eli Carter and Dennis Clifford led the Eagles (7-8, 0-2) with 13 points apiece.
Boston College coach Jim Christian was very upset by his team's effort.
"It pains me to apologize to BC people because that shouldn't happen," he said. "I'm going to do everything I can to make sure it won't happen. Tonight we have to take the lump and move on."
It's BC's third-most lopsided loss ever at home since joining the ACC in 2005-06. The most was a 106-74 loss to North Carolina on Feb. 1, 2011.
Coming off an 11-point loss at then-No. 5 Virginia in its ACC opener on Saturday, Notre Dame took charge early and turned it into an easy night by halftime.
The Fighting Irish trailed 3 ½ minutes into the game before Matt Ryan's 3-pointer from the left corner sparked the big run over the ensuing 9:07.
Notre Dame has won 10 of its last 11 against Boston College.
Jackson's 3 from the top of the key capped the first portion of the spree — a 12-0 spurt — before BC had a pair of baskets. Jackson's basket then triggered a 9-0 run that made it 25-13.
The Eagles sliced it to 27-22 on A.J. Turner's 3-pointer from the top before Notre Dame closed the half with a 10-2 run that was capped by V.J. Beachem's 3 from the corner directly in front of BC's bench in the closing seconds.
Notre Dame led 37-24 at halftime.
The Fighting Irish started the second half by scoring 15 of the initial 20 points to break the game open.
Notre Dame: The Irish shot 62.5 percent in the first half (15 of 24) and nailed 5 of 9 from beyond the arc. ... They host BC on Jan. 23, one of the two ACC teams (Georgia Tech, the other) that they play twice. ... Brey improved to 8-1 all-time vs. BC.
Boston College: The Eagles entered the game last in the conference, averaging just 67.2 points per game and they were held to 32.5 percent shooting in the opening half (8 of 26).
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Brey talked about how he was committed to playing the starting five together since the preseason.
"That group has really learned to play together well," he said. "It's a group — starting in June — that we let play a lot together. Our theme was: play those five guys together. No one else has started a game. They are really good offensively. They know each other."
How bad was it going for BC? In the first half, guard Jerome Robinson threw a pass to Carter after he turned his head as the pair were coming up the court. The ball bounced off Carter's shoulder for a turnover.
Notre Dame: Hosts No. 24 Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Boston College: At Syracuse next Wednesday.