NEW ORLEANS - Seated and sobbing among sweat-soaked uniforms and used athletic tape scattered across the locker room floor, Notre Dame senior guard Tory Jackson reluctantly faced the future. It is a future that no longer includes running the Irish men’s basketball team after No. 6 seed Notre Dame was eliminated Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament following a 51-50 loss to No. 11 seed Old Dominion in the South Regional at New Orleans Arena. “I can barely talk man,” Jackson said. “That’s it for me. I don’t know what to do. These guys are all I had, yo. “Every day, it was just ... us. It’s the real life after this.” Jackson, long considered the team’s most respected voice, its strongest heartbeat, its proudest competitor, drifted through the moments after the game ended. He wandered to the Irish bench, sat down, stood up, wandered around some more, offered the Monarchs a post-game handshake then left the floor in a daze, his left hand atop his head. It wasn’t supposed to end this way, this early, for Jackson, who had almost willed Notre Dame (23-12) to a late-season run that helped make distant dreams of an NCAA Tournament a reality. But end it did, and with it came a whole bunch of hurt and heartache. Not in the other locker room, though. “It reflects the magic of March, the way the two teams battled,” said Old Dominion coach Blaine Taylor. “One of the officials turns to me at the two-minute mark and said, ‘It’s been a heck of a game,’ and I really think it was.” A game that was seemingly there for Notre Dame’s taking. Just as the Irish did during their run to win six of their final seven heading into the NCAA Tournament, they had plenty of chances to succeed. This time, the shots that had dropped for so long didn’t. Not from in close. Not from out deep. “We got open shots,” Jackson said. “We just couldn’t hit them.” A first half that saw the Irish lead by as many as nine points morphed into a second half that resembled a conference game against Syracuse. Old Dominion switched defensive plans from man to zone, and that move befuddled the Irish. Notre Dame’s “burn” offense was able to muster many good looks, but few fell. The Irish had only 10 baskets in the second half, and were 2-of-12 from 3. “Eventually, you’ve got to make some shots,” said coach Mike Brey. “You’ve got to make two in a row to change the climate because we got enough defensive stops to do it. “You’ve just got to make some stuff over the top of that. And we couldn’t.” Unable to hold an eight-point lead from earlier in the second half, the Irish trailed by three in the closing seconds and looked as if they had forced overtime. Carleton Scott, who was stunningly effective in his first NCAA Tournament game, found just enough daylight in front of the Irish bench to fire up a 3-pointer. The shot rolled halfway down but jumped out. Luke Harangody, bothered by foul trouble and unable to get into any sort of offensive flow, dropped in the last basket - points 2,475 and 2,476 of his career - at the final horn. “It’s tough,” Harangody said of having played his last game. “It really hasn’t hit me yet.” Scott, who hit a 3-pointer at the horn to force overtime and subsequently push Notre Dame to victory in the season finale at Marquette, thought he had done it again. “It couldn’t have gone down any more,” he said. “It was just terrible. I thought it was good. Next thing you know, it rolls out. “It’s hard to take in.” Frustrated by the early exit, Scott admitted to being the one who nearly split in half a cardboard sign in an arena hallway that read “Notre Dame locker room” with a punch out of frustration. “You hate losing,” Scott said. “You’re the ultimate competitor and you hate losing. I felt terrible. I felt like I let my team down. “It’s just hard. You don’t want to lose.” The loss marked the second time in three NCAA Tournament trips that the Irish, with a No. 6 seed in hand, have lost to a No. 11 seed in the opening round. Winthrop sent Notre Dame home early in 2007. Now Old Dominion has done it. “I feel bad for the seniors,” said guard Ben Hansbrough, who scored a team-high 17 points. One day, maybe sooner than he could have imagined Thursday afternoon, Jackson will look back on the magical run Notre Dame made just to get to the post-season and offer a trademark smile. But not yet. “We proved a lot of people wrong,” he said. “These were the best four years of my life. “You can’t get these years back.” OLD DOMINION (51): Gerald Lee 4-7 1-3 9, Frank Hassell 6-11 3-3 15, Darius James 2-8 0-1 5, Kent Bazemore 2-6 0-1 4, Ben Finney 2-6 2-2 7, Nick Wright 0-0 0-0 0, Trian Iliadis 0-1 0-0 0, Chris Cooper 0-0 0-0 0, Marquel De Lancey 0-0 0-0 0, Marsharee Neely 0-1 0-0 0, Keyon Carter 4-8 2-2 11. TOTALS: 20-48 8-12 51. NOTRE DAME (50): Tim Abromaitis 4-11 1-1 9, Carleton Scott 6-13 0-0 14, Ty Nash 0-2 1-2 1, Tory Jackson 2-11 0-0 5, Ben Hansbrough 7-13 0-0 17, Jonathan Peoples 0-0 0-0 0, Luke Harangody 2-9 0-0 4, Jack Cooley 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 21-59 2-3 50. Halftime score: Notre Dame 28, Old Dominion 22. 3-point goals: Old Dominion 3-13 (Carter 1-3, Finney 1-4, James 1-4, Iliadis 0-1, Lee 0-1), Notre Dame 6-26 (Hansbrough 3-8, Scott 2-5, Jackson 1-7, Harangody 0-1, Abromaitis 0-5). Total fouls: Old Dominion 9, Notre Dame 14. Shooting: Old Dominion 20-of-48 (41.7 percent), Notre Dame 21-of-59 (35.6 percent). Rebounds: Old Dominion 31 (Hassell 9), Notre Dame 38 (Scott 10). Assists: Old Dominion 11 (James 3), Notre Dame 12 (Jackson 4). Turnovers: Old Dominion 8 (Bazemore 3), Notre Dame 10 (Scott 5). Records: Old Dominion 27-8, Notre Dame 23-12. Officials: Verne Davis, David Hall, Ed Hightower. A - NA.