Things looked pretty bleak for Notre Dame on Saturday night with less than a minute left in regulation at Purcell Pavilion in their showdown with #11 Louisville. With ESPN College Gameday on hand, the Irish trailed the Cardinals 56-48 as the clock read 0:50 after a Chane Behanan free throw.
Down 8 points with 50 seconds on the clock, Jerian Grant decided to go all Reggie Miller on Louisville with a barrage of three’s that will go down in Notre Dame lore as possibly the greatest single minute individual effort to will the Irish to overtime.
Then the real fun began.
After Behanan’s free throw pushed the Louisville lead to 8 points, Grant flew down the court and drained the first of three three pointers over the final 50 seconds to cut the Cardinals lead to 5. Gorgui Dieng sank both of his free throws to push the lead back to 7. Grant wasn’t done, however, he was only warming up.
Grant needed just six seconds to run down the court and sink his second three to bring the lead back down to 4, but Louisville responded with two more free throws to extend it back to 6 with 33 seconds on the clock. Game over, right? Hardly. The drama had only just begun.
Just 5 seconds after Louisville thought they put the Irish away for good, Grant came back down the court and hit his third three pointer in the span of 16 seconds and the Irish were within three points despite Louisville hitting on 5 of their 6 free throws in the final minute.
With 27 seconds left on the clock now Dieng stepped up tot he free throw line again for a pair of charity shots. This time, however, the Louisville center bricked both attempts leaving the door wide open for the white hot Grant. The Notre Dame junior from Maryland would fail to disappoint once again although he decided to dial the drama up just a tad.
Instead of launching another three pointer, Grant drove the length of the court for an easy lay to cut the lead to one, but got fouled in the process and was sent to the line with a chance to te the game. After hitting his lst four shots, Grant wasn’t about to miss the first uncontested shot he saw in some time. Grant swooshed home the and-1 attempt to knot the game 60.
One player. 12 points. 29 seconds. Eat your heart out, Reggie.
With the game all tied up at 60, Louisville had one final chance to win it in regulation, but failed to do so and headed into overtime wondering what the heck had just happened over the final 50 seconds. To their credit, the Cardinals regrouped and battled to the end over the course of five extra periods of basketball.
In each of the five extra frames, Louisville had a chance to either win or tie the game, but came short on each attempt. Notre Dame, meanwhile, kept scratching and crawling through the five overtimes – which by the way, happened to be a Big East regular season record for extra periods.
The Irish had to do so without the services of Grant for most of the overtime periods though. Their hero from regulation fouled out with just under two minutes remaining in the first period. Senior player of the year candidate Jack Cooley missed all of the overtime fun as well. He fouled out before Grant’s free throw tied things up in regulation.
Even without Grant and Cooley, the Irish were able to come away victorious Saturday night in front of a raucous home crowd that was treated to 25 extra minutes of basketball during which the two Big East rivals added 44 and 41 points respectively after scoring just 60 points a piece during the first 60 minutes of action. Garrick Sherman, Cameron Biedscheid, and Eric Atkins picked up the slack for their teammates who were restricted to cheerleading duties for the extra time.
The game finally ended after Louisville failed to connect on a three point attempt after a Pat Connaughton free throw with 10 seconds remaining pushed the Irish lead to 104-101. As Russ Smith’s disparition three came up short and time expired the Irish student body rushed the floor to celebrate a comeback that will be talked about for years to come.
I could not agree with you more. One would only have to review Indiana’s 13 point win over OSU at home to see a stark reality of real bench depth!
Only the serious teams with real bench depth intend to make the final 4. ND is nowhere near this caliber, not because of talent, but coaching!
We are simply tired and out of gas by tournament time and hit the exit button year after year under Brey! I guess he was wearing heavy blinders while he was at Duke.
Great win by ND. This proves my point all along, that ND has the capability of beating good teams, but they’ll turn around and have a head scratching loss to a subpar team. If your goal is to get into the NCAA tournament, then Brey and ND are hugely successful. But unfortunately, this year probably will be like every other year, save one, since Brey took over that they will meet an early exit.
I want to be excited for ND basketball, I want to believe in them, but year after year it ends too early.
I honestly think Brey has the capability of being a coach, if there were just a little pressure. As long as he thinks he will never be fired, he is not going to change. Why would he? Swarbick needs to push him out of his comfort zone. I really think if Brey thought his job could be in jeapordy, you’d see some changes. Certainly, ND is not likely to be playing for an NC, but there is no reason with their players they can’t at least make it to a sweet 16 some years.
Brey is an excellent X’s and O’s guy. He knows basketball. If he would just go to the bench more often, that would make a difference. How many times do we see an excellent junior or senior who has never seen the court as a freshman or sophomore. I know there are many times I scratch my head and wonder where they were all along.
Maybe with the move to the ACC, Swarbick will expect better play from the basketball team (one of the primary reasons for the move).
Again, great win. I hate to be the cloud in the silver lining, but does anyone really believe they will make it beyond the 1st round of the tournament this year?
The last incredible minute by Jerian Grant and another nation-leading double-double effort by Jack Cooley would all have been in vain without the persistence and heroics of the others who stepped up against “all odds” to capture this historic victory for the ages.
With three key starters having fouled out, the rest of the team stepped up in the overtimes and refused to lose.
The confidence and positive demeanor of our coach versus the angst-ridden drama of their coach throughout the overtimes was a side story hardly mentioned, but just as telling. An exhausted Eric Atkins, an injured Pat Connaughton, and the heroics of Cameron Biedscheid and others all are worthy of mention- but seldom used senior transfer Garrick Sherman’s spectacular work in both scoring and rebounding will be the unexpected highlight that I will always remember- as I’m sure he will as well.
“While her loyal sons go marching onward to victory . . . ” was never truer and this classic will become another annotated footnote that adds to the reverberating ” echoes cheering her name . . .”