Steve Vasturia didn’t use up all of his late game heroics on New Year’s Eve. For the second straight game, Vasturia nailed a huge bucket to propel the Irish victory. This time is was an awkward runner in the lane and this time it was over #9 Louisville at Purcell Pavilion. Notre Dame knocked off the Cardinals 77-70 for the sixth straight time at home against Pitino’s Cards.
Vasturia’s last minute runner was just a cherry on top of his standout performance Wednesday night. He set a career high with 24 points to go along with six boards. Vasturia paced the Irish in the second win in as many tries in ACC but Matt Farrell wasn’t far behind. Farrell chipped in 22 points matching his own career high set a couple weeks back in the loss to Purdue.
Bonzie Colson had another ho hum double-double with 18 points and 14 boards. Just another day at the office for Colson who now has nine double-doubles on the season and 14 rebounds in back to back ACC contests.
Notre Dame lead throughout most of the game, but never pulled away leaving most Irish fans feeling as if it was only a matter of time before the Cardinals stormed ahead. That never happened and Notre Dame now sits at 2-0 in ACC play with wins over Pitt and Louisville.
The Cardinals made it very interesting, however, with just over 2:00 remaining. After a cold stretch from Notre Dame, Louisville tied the game at 68. Vasturia’s big basket and more clutch free throw shooting from the Irish sealed the deal. Notre Dame hit 22 of 25 free throws and continues to be the best free throw shooting team in the country.
Notre Dame pulled off the upset tonight while lacking their normal home court advantage. Notre Dame has not resumed classes following winter break yet leaving a void in the student section. The hometown locals picked up the slack, however, and cheered on Notre Dame’s latest win over Louisville.
This was easily Notre Dame’s most impressive victory of the season. The Irish have had chances to knock off ranked teams twice this season against Purdue and Villanova but blew second half leads in both contests.
Notre Dame’s win improved their RPI from 50th all the way up to 29th. Notre Dame moved up to 23rd in the AP Rankings earlier this week and if they can make it 3-0 in ACC this weekend, they are in store for a nice bump.
To do that the Irish will have to take down 11-3 Clemson. The Irish and Tigers face off Saturday inside the friendly confines of the Purcell Pavilion. Notre Dame fans of course would prefer the Irish to be facing Clemson in another sport right about now, but I digress.