#15 Louisville falls at #7 Notre Dame in Overtime

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High scoring. Good Shooting. An overtime session dominated by the home team in an extremely spirited venue- this was Big East college basketball at it’s finest.

#14 Louisville tied #7 Notre Dame at 74 when two halves were concluded. However, Irish eyes perked wide open in the extra session, as ND owned the extra five minutes with a 14-0 run. UL didn’t even score in overtime until there was 42.6 seconds remaining.

By Paul M. Banks

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It was a game that was as entertaining as the front row of guys dressed like Mike Brey in the ND student section.

Both teams shot 50% from three in the first half, as Louisville took a four point lead (largely on the strength of their 15% advantage over the Irish in field goal percentage) into the intermission. The second half was largely similar to the first as both teams got up and down the court in an up-tempo contest with numerous lead changes and a margin that remained very tight the whole way.

And with Bobby Knight, Digger Phelps, Rece Davis and Brian Kelly all in the house, it’s a shame this was on ESPNU and not regular ESPN.

Tim Abromaitis and Ben Hansbrough led the way for the Irish with 23 and 25 points respectively. Luke Harangody doppelganger Jack Cooley (or at least we all regard him to be his doppelganger given how they went to the same school at the same time, and do have a physical resemblance) had ten points on a perfect 5-5 from the field (all before half).

Brey on Jack Cooley’s performance:

“Awesome, kept us alive, in game like that you don’t feel like you deserve to be down four, you feel like you should be down 12, and to be down four, you’re counting your blessings. Eric (Atkins) and Jack gave us a great lift off the bench. Jack was fabulous, he was scoring tonight when we couldn’t score.”

Cooley came in averaging just 3.5 ppg.

Of course, not everything was golden for the Irish, their defense left a lot to be desired.

“I had us doing so many things, we were bad at all of them,” Brey said.

Rick Pitino’s squad was led by Kyle Kuric’s 26 points. Way above his 8.5 ppg average as he nailed four triples. Preston Knowles had 14 and Terrence Jennings 13.

The win gave the Irish 20 victories by the earliest calendar date in program history and extended their win streak to six. This is the only regular season meeting between the two schools.

Notre Dame has won its last six BIG EAST games. It’s Notre Dame’s first win streak of that length in BIG EAST regular-season play since the Irish won the final five conference games of the 2006-07 season and the first two league contests of the 2007-08 campaign. It’s the first six-game conference win streak within the same season since the Irish won eight straight during the 2000-01 campaign, which was Mike Brey’s first year on the Notre Dame sideline.

Notre Dame is 5-2 versus ranked teams this season. Five of Notre Dame’s nine BIG EAST victories have come against a ranked opponent. The Irish had four players reach double-figures in points (Hansbrough, Abromaitis, Cooley and Carleton Scott for the third straight game.

This marks the 10th time this season Notre Dame has had at least four players score in double-digits in the same contest.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net. He doesn’t have a real nickname, but he is also a regular contributor to the Tribune’s Chicago Now network, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

He does a weekly radio segment on Chicagoland Sports Radio.com and Cleveland.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

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