Rushed Reactions: #25 Notre Dame 104, #11 Louisville 101 (5OT)Posted by WCarey on February 10th, 2013
Walker Carey is an RTC correspondent. He filed this report after Saturday night’s game between Louisville and Notre Dame. You can follow him at @walkerRcarey.
Three Key Takeaways.
- This Game Was Completely And Totally Insane. When it appeared that all hope was lost for Notre Dame and Louisville was going to leave South Bend with the victory, Notre Dame junior guard Jerian Grant stepped to the forefront and nailed three consecutive three-pointers and converted on an old-fashioned three-point play to tie the game and send it to overtime. Grant’s heroics were only possible because while he was scoring 12 points in just 42 seconds, Louisville only converted on 6-of-8 free throws, thus making a tie game possible. When overtime began, chaos overtook the Purcell Pavilion. In the first four overtime periods, there were 10 ties and 10 lead changes. When Notre Dame needed a basket, Notre Dame got a basket. When Louisville needed a basket, Louisville got a basket. This is how completely insane this game was: Notre Dame forward Garrick Sherman did not play in regulation and still managed to finish the game with 17 points. Saturday night’s tilt in South Bend is a game that will not be forgotten any time soon.
- Russ Smith Does Not Belong In The National Player Of The Year Discussion. Throughout the game, Louisville guard Russ Smith made baffling decision after baffling decision. He also took bad shot after bad shot. For the game, Smith finished with 21 points, but he reached that figure on just a 4-of-18 performance from the field. It is impossible to deny that Smith is a very talented player, but his decision-making really prevents him from being the player he could be. A big deal is made about his nickname, “Russdiculous,” but it might be time to look at just how much his play hurts Louisville at times.
- Notre Dame’s Resiliency Was Unbelievable. Forward Jack Cooley is arguably Notre Dame’s best player, but the Irish were without the services of the senior big man after he fouled out with 6:54 to play. Forward Tom Knight soon joined him as a foul casualty and the two big men were joined on the bench by Grant, who fouled out towards the end of the first overtime period. With three starters disqualified, Notre Dame relied on reserves Cam Biedscheid, Zach Auguste, and Sherman to play big minutes and all three came through for the Irish giving them quality performances on both ends of the court. The Irish believed in themselves all night and received contributions from everyone. It was a total team effort and Mike Brey has to be thrilled with how well everyone fulfilled their roles and contributed to the cause.
Stars of the Game. Jerian Grant, Eric Atkins, and Pat Connaughton, Notre Dame. Grant’s 12 points in 42 seconds are what made the five overtime madness possible. When it looked like all hope was lost for the Irish, Grant put the team on his back and took it to the extra periods. Atkins did not have the best game statistically (14 points on just 5-of-19 shooting), but the decision-making of the junior guard was tremendous for all 60 minutes he was on the court. Without the leadership of Atkins, there is little chance Notre Dame could have been victorious. Connaughton filled out the stat sheet for the Irish, finishing with 16 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists. While his statistics were fantastic, the sophomore’s toughness was what made him so valuable to his team in the victory.
- “Their shots were incredible so we’ve got to give them a lot of credit because I’ve never seen shots like that and I’ve been coaching for a long, long time.” – Louisville coach Rick Pitino, obviously referencing the three desperation three-pointers Jerian Grant made at the end of regulation.
- “It was one of those magical nights in our building.” – Notre Dame coach Mike Brey, referring to just how improbable and unbelievable Notre Dame’s victory was.
What’s Next. Notre Dame will stay at home and take on DePaul on Wednesday. Louisville will return to the Yum! Center on Thursday when the Cardinals will host St. John’s.