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  • Irish Fall in Overtime

    by Kevin O'Neill

    Louisville rallied from a 46-32 halftime deficit to force overtime, and the Cardinals completed the comeback with an 83-77 overtime victory.  Louisville will face Connecticut Saturday evening in the Big East Tournament finals.

    Preston Knowles led Louisville with 20 points including 8 in the last 2:47 of regulation.  Scott Martin led Notre Dame with 21 points.  All five ND starters scored in double figures, but Big East Player of the Year Ben Hansbrough had an uncharacteristic game, 3-16 from the field with 6 turnovers.

    “I just did not have a very good night tonight.  I just never got open,” Hansbrough said.  “Even though they were in zone a lot, it never seemed like I could get open.  I think it was just one of those nights.  I’ve made those shots I took before.  They just didn’t fall tonight.”

    Louisville pushed the tempo and attacked the basket in the second half, and the approach was effective cutting the ND lead.  Notre Dame weathered UL runs and pushed the lead back to 10 points twice, the last time with 10:00 left to play; but Louisville refused to quit.  Meanwhile the Irish slowed the pace, and that seemed to work against them more than against Louisville.  Notre Dame never found an offensive rhythm  in the second half.

    Louisville won the game on the boards.  The teams had 16 rebounds apiece at halftime, but Louisville finished the game with a 49-35 rebounding advantage.  UL’s 23 offensive rebounds led to 21 second chance points, and that was the difference in the game.

    “Second shots hurt us, tried some man, tried some zone, and we probably couldn’t get into a very good offensive rhythm,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said.  “Their defense was very good.  Having said that, we got some very good looks down the end and couldn’t make them.”

    Notre Dame looked like the team that beat Cincinnati for most of the first half.  The Irish made 57% of their shots and had 10 assists as they built the big halftime lead.  Then came 32% second half shooting, 23% three point shooting, 7 turnovers, and the aforementioned beat-down on the boards.  Credit Louisville.  The Cardinals wanted the game, and they took it.

    “In the second half, I said, ‘You guys got one shot at winning this game, you have to take their legs from under them, and it’ll pay off at the end,”‘  Louisville coach Rick Pitino said.  “‘You have to deny them and you have to press them and in the end, if we make our comeback, they won’t have any legs.”

    Pitino was right.

    Noteworthy

    • Martin’s 21 points are his career high.  He also led the team with 8 rebounds.
    • This was the third straight Notre Dame – Louisville game to require overtime to determine a winner.
    • Notre Dame led by as many as 16 points in the first half.  The final score was Louisville’s largest lead.
    • Notre Dame hoped to make it to the Big East Tournament championship game for the first time.  Alas…
    • Louisville will play Connecticut for the tournament championship Saturday evening.  Led by Kemba Walker’s 33 points, UConn defeated Syracuse in overtime 76-71.  UConn will be playing its 5th game in 5 days.

    Next

    The Irish will open the NCAA Tournament either Thursday or Friday at a site to be determined.  We’ll post coverage of the tournament selections nd seedings on Sunday evening and a preview of the opponent the evening before the game.

    12 Responses to “Irish Fall in Overtime”

    1. I know he had a phenomenal season, and I know the Irish wouldn’t be where they are now without him, but Hansborough was putrid tonight. I’m not just talking about a bad shooting night. Those things happen even to the best. I’m talking about a guy who refused to run the offense in the second half, acted like the Big East player of the year ordained him as the next coming of Michael Jordan, etc. He did play a lot like Michael Jordan before Phil Jackson got hold of him, i.e, didn’t trust his teammates, hogged the ball, etc, etc. I hope this is a wake up call or it will be another in the long line of Irish flameouts int the tournament if BH doesn’t play the way he did to get the Irish to the pinnacle.

      The second half just blew me away. The Irish haven’t looked like that since the St. Johns and Marquette road games.

      • I agree; I also think “burn-ball” cost the Irish the opportunity to create rythym. I will never understand Brey. Why not continue what they did in the first half? A HUGE disappointment tonight.

    2. Scranton Dave says:

      Louisville is one of the only teams in the country that can put so much pressure on the Irish that it takes them out of their comfort zone. They are the 1 team in this tourney I didn’t want to see. Ben just had a bad game. They will be fine.

    3. Why does Mike Brey think he needs to change defenses every year at tourney time. They can’t play man to man. Stick with the zone that has worked all year moron.

      • Have you watched Notre Dame this year? The Irish have played man-to-man a good 90% or the time. They have gone multiple games in a row without playing any zone.

        I’m not inclined to approve posts that call a coach, a player, or another poster a moron; but sometimes it’s worthwhile to join the name being called to the real thing.

    4. martinjordan says:

      ND responded to it’s last two losses with 7 and 5 game winning streaks against some good teams at home and on the road. Responding to this loss with a 6 game winning streak would be perfect.

    5. I can’t take many more Big East semi-final losses. Two recently on last second shots to win, and now blowing a 16 point lead to lose. What does Notre Dame have to do to finally win? The second half reminded me of the film The Replacements with Keanu Reeves. His biggest fear on the field is quicksand, everything starts to fall apart and you just can’t get out of the funk. That’s what happened to Notre Dame. They were riding such a high until the second half when it all fell apart and they didn’t know how to stop the bleeding. Ben Hansbrough missing 2 free throws? I can’t watch the final this loss still hurts too much as the other semi-final losses have. Best of luck in the round of 64!!

    6. Nick Schoenfeld says:

      Our parameter D was pretty awful from what I saw. I think some adjustments should have been made. Still good to see us in it with our best player throwing up a dud like that. Time to regroup and refocus. I think we’ll respond nicely.

    7. 2 things:

      Changing pace to the burn really stalled some great momentum.

      And after they started the high pick/dribble penetration… Go to a zone for crying out loud.

      The good news, MartIn stepped his game way up and we need him and Atkins to contribute for a deep run. Unfortunately, EA had some shaky moments and a late turnover that really hurt.

      BH will rebound – it’s just the way he’s wired and we are only in the conversation because of him, so I am fine to give him a pass on this one.

    8. Was it just me, or did the second half seem like watching an NFL game – 3 or 4 plays and then 5 minutes of ads? It seemed that the continuous stop and go of the second half disrupted the Irish rythm as much as the Cardinals defense.

    9. I place all of the blame on Nick Faldo. He was 0-2 yesterday.

    10. Why did BH put up a low Percentage long shot on our last possession of reg.? If he went inside only good things would have happened ie make Lou. foul. or get the lay in or 3 pt. play.

      Lou. would not have had time to respond/ once we hit ot, I knew it was a loser.

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