No. 24 Notre Dame loses to No. 8 Louisville 73-57
Posted at: 03/09/2013 8:39 PM
By JOSH ABNER
(AP) LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Notre Dame held St. John’s to 40 points in Tuesday’s 26-point win. On Saturday, No. 8 Louisville nearly had that many in the first 20 minutes.
The Cardinals’ fast start in Saturday’s 73-57 victory over No. 24 Notre Dame was coupled with pesky defense that turned the tables on a Fighting Irish team that held three of its previous four opponents under 50 points.
"We kind of ran into a buzz saw today," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said of Louisville’s 67 percent shooting (16 of 24) in the first half. "We expected a great punch and effort from them. Their defense really gave us problems the whole afternoon."
The win gave Louisville a share of the Big East regular-season title. The Cardinals also received a bye into Thursday’s quarterfinals at the Big East tournament, where they will try to defend their 2012 championship.
Brey took solace in the fact that Louisville made its run in last season’s conference tournament as a No. 6 seed, the same spot his Irish hold this year.
"Who was the 6 seed last year, and how did they do?" Brey said. "I was thinking about that at the buzzer. Actually, I was thinking about it at the 12-minute mark."
Notre Dame receives a first-round bye and will play Wednesday against Rutgers or DePaul at Madison Square Garden.
When these teams met a month ago at Notre Dame, they played five overtimes before the Fighting Irish won 104-101 in the longest regular-season game in Big East history. In fact, five of the last six and six of the past eight matchups between the schools went to overtime before Louisville took charge on Saturday.
Irish guard Jerian Grant, whose 12-point flurry in the final 45 seconds of regulation sent the first matchup to overtime, was held to eight points after scoring 21 in each of his last two games.
"You can only have one magic act a season, maybe in your career," Brey said.
Gorgui Dieng had 20 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks, and Peyton Siva added 13 points and five assists in his final home game for the Cardinals (26-5, 14-4 Big East), who finished tied for first place with Georgetown and Marquette.
Dieng and Siva were honored before the game as part of Louisville’s senior day festivities. Dieng, a junior center from Senegal, is expected to enter the NBA draft after the season.
"It really was a storybook ending for the two guys playing tonight," coach Rick Pitino said.
Garrick Sherman led Notre Dame (23-8, 11-7) with 14 points. Pat Connaughton had 13 points and seven rebounds.
Louisville shot 67 percent for its best first half of the season, but Notre Dame held the Cardinals without a field goal for nearly six minutes early in the second half to cut the lead to 45-40 on Connaughton’s 3-pointer with 12:42 left.
"When we got it to five we really needed to limit our turnovers. The building, they really feed off that stuff," Connaughton said of the 22,815 in attendance for Louisville’s senior day.
That was as close as the Irish got. Dieng’s turnaround jumper on the baseline with 10:33 left gave Louisville a 49-41 lead and started a 10-2 run.
Notre Dame shot 39 percent (22 of 56) for the game to Louisville’s 51 percent (26 of 51).
Siva’s third 3 with 2:26 left and alley-oop layup on the next possession sealed the win.
Louisville never trailed and led by as many as six throughout most of the first half before Siva helped break the game open. His two 3-pointers, with an alley-oop assist to Chane Behanan in between, gave the Cardinals a 30-21 lead at the 6:14 mark.
Kevin Ware followed with a steal and layup that put Louisville up by 11, its largest advantage of the half. Siva’s floater in the lane with 51 seconds to go gave the Cardinals their 37-27 lead at the break.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)