LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Able to answer challenges, connect on key shots and absolutely refuse to go quietly in perhaps the league’s most hostile environments meant next to nothing late Wednesday for the Notre Dame men’s basketball team. All that mattered following 50 minutes - 10 longer than the regulation college basketball game - was another unneeded mark in the loss column. Tim Abromaitis scored 29 points and Ben Hansbrough added 21 as the Irish again worked without All-American Luke Harangody, out with a bone bruise in his right knee. The Irish received contributions from young and old, but Louisville took a 91-89 double-overtime victory at Freedom Hall. Notre Dame had its chances. Plenty of chances. The visitors had the ball at the end of regulation and at the end of both overtimes with opportunities to either win it or tie it. It didn’t work out either of the first two possessions. By the third, which closed out the contest, Abromaitis frantically dribbled around in an effort to find some space somewhere near the basket but never did get a shot before the final buzzer. A moral victory had no place later in the night on the Irish charter. “I really thought the whole time we were going to get it,” Abromaitis said. “We just didn’t get it.” Faced with stifling pressure all night, an intensity that was turned to white-hot levels in the extra sessions, Irish guard Tory Jackson played all 50 minutes. He had 19 points and seven assists against five turnovers, but no miscues in the overtime. “Crazy,” Jackson said. “That’s college basketball, man. We gave ourselves a chance. Just can’t get a shot up at the end. “We played awesome.” Having made plenty of key plays - and maybe most importantly key defensive stops - all the Irish have to show for it is a third consecutive league loss and a 17-10 overall record (6-8 and in 11th place in the Big East). Notre Dame’s last four league games have been decided by three, three, one and two points. Three of Notre Dame’s final four visits to Freedom Hall have gone to at least one overtime. The Irish left for the last time having not won in the place since 1958. “We’ve had some wild ones down here,” said coach Mike Brey. “I don’t know if I’ve ever been prouder of a group in a loss in my 10 years at Notre Dame. “A lot of different guys thrown in the fire made plays.” They also had their hands full in guarding Cardinals center Samardo Samuels, who was a one-man wrecking crew. The sophomore center scored a career-high 36 points. He made 19 trips to the foul line, where he scored 16 points. He also fouled out four Irish - Mike Broghammer, Jack Cooley, Tyrone Nash and Carleton Scott. In the end, Irish freshman Joey Brooks was asked to guard Samuels. Both teams jumped into their respective bonuses so early in the second half - 13:38 left for Notre Dame, 11:50 for Louisville - that the bulk of the night was spent at the foul line. The Irish converted 23 of 29, including 10 of 10 from Hansbrough in the extra sessions. The Cardinals were 35 for 40, including all 15 in the overtimes. “Our guys down the stretch were phenomenal,” said Cardinals coach Rick Pitino. “We won it with Samardo being totally gassed.” Officials called 54 combined fouls. Broghammer had a chance to win it in regulation. Parked to the right of the lane, he took a pass from a driving Hansbrough and had a clean look at the rim but couldn’t connect as time expired. Hansbrough then had a chance to win it at the end of the first overtime, but his jumper never got close. “We weren’t able to score,” Hansbrough said of missed opportunities. “We fought hard. We were right there and had the chance. We just weren’t able to score.” Crazy contests have dominated Notre Dame’s visits to Freedom Hall, and its last visit may have been the craziest. The game featured 17 ties and 21 lead changes. Way back in regulation, the Irish trailed by as many as nine points but then led by a seemingly safe seven early in the first overtime when Abromaitis broke free for a dunk and foul shot. Just as the Irish might have thought this was their night, back came the Cardinals, who sliced deep into their deficit thanks to a Reginald Delk four-point play. It was the first four-point play in more than seven years for the Cardinals. Just over two minutes after leading by seven, the Irish were down by one and again scrambling to find success. “The four-point play was huge,” Brey said. “It was a swing of momentum.” One the Irish never could recapture.
- LOUISVILLE 91, NOTRE DAME 89, 2OT At Louisville, Ky. NOTRE DAME (89): Tyrone Nash 2-5 0-0 4, Tim Abromaitis 11-18 5-6 29, Carleton Scott 2-5 4-4 9, Tory Jackson 6-11 4-6 19, Ben Hansbrough 4-14 10-12 21, Jonathan Peoples 1-3 0-0 3, Joey Brooks 0-0 0-0 0, Mike Broghammer 1-2 0-0 2, Jack Cooley 1-1 0-1 2. TOTALS: 28-59 23-29 89. LOUISVILLE (91): Reginald Delk 1-3 1-1 4, Jared Swopshire 3-8 5-5 12, Samardo Samuels 10-19 16-19 36, Edgar Sosa 3-11 5-5 12, Chris Smith 1-3 2-2 5, Preston Knowles 2-4 3-4 9, Peyton Siva 0-0 0-0 0, Rakeem Buckles 1-2 2-2 4, Kyle Kuric 2-3 0-0 5, Terrence Jennings 0-0 0-0 0, Mike Marra 1-2 1-2 4. TOTALS: 24-55 35-40 91. Halftime score: Louisville 37, Notre Dame 36. End of regulation: Louisville 67, Notre Dame 67. End of 1st overtime: Louisville 79, Notre Dame 79. 3-point goals: Notre Dame 10-24 (Jackson 3-5, Hansbrough 3-10, Abromaitis 2-4, Scott 1-2, Peoples 1-3), Louisville 8-17 (Knowles 2-4, Smith 1-1, Sosa 1-2, Marra 1-2, Kuric 1-2, Swopshire 1-3, Delk 1-3). Total fouls (fouled out): Notre Dame 28 (Broghammer, Cooley, Scott, Nash), Louisville 26 (Knowles). Shooting: Notre Dame 28-of-59 (47.5 percent), Louisville 24-of-55 (43.6 percent). Rebounds: Notre Dame 34 (Hansbrough 8), Louisville 34 (Swopshire 9). Assists: Notre Dame 14 (Jackson 7), Louisville 12 (Sosa 4). Turnovers: Notre Dame 14 (Jackson 5), Louisville 15 (Samuels 6). Records: Notre Dame 17-10 (6-8), Louisville 17-9 (8-5). Officials: Mike Stuart, Doug Sirmons, Michael Stephens. Attendance: 19,623.
Staff writer Tom Noie: email@example.com (574) 235-6153