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Bobby Griffin | Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Notre Dame pulled off the unthinkable, and then almost did it again in a thrilling 85-82 double overtime loss to Georgetown Tuesday at the Joyce Center.

Irish guard Colin Falls converted a 4-point play with 1.9 seconds left in regulation with Notre Dame trailing by four to send the game to overtime. Falls worked off a screen set under the basket and received an inbounds pass in the corner before drilling the shot and being fouled by Georgetown guard Brandon Bowman.

“We executed an out of bounds set really well, and we kind of called it on the fly,” Irish coach Mike Brey said. “And he does get fouled on threes. That was a big play there.”

Georgetown coach John Thompson III was upset the game came down to double overtime given his orders on the last defensive possession in regulation.

“The instructions are coming up not to foul,” Thompson said. “It didn’t happen that way, but we found a way to win. But I guess [Bowman] didn’t get the memo.”

The madness didn’t end there.

With the score tied at 76 in the first overtime period, Irish forward Rob Kurz inbounded the ball with a second remaining and threw a baseball pass over 7-foot-1 center Roy Hibbert down the court that got behind Georgetown’s defense.

Irish guard Chris Quinn caught the pass, but missed what would have been a game-winning layup.

“I think you’ve got to try to win it on Quinn’s layup,” Brey said. “A game like that tonight, you’ve got to try to steal it.”

Quinn said after the game it was a shot he should have made because he was in position to catch Kurz’s pass and was behind the Hoyas defense.

Instead, the game went to double overtime, where Georgetown found ways to score timely baskets, and Notre Dame struggled from the free throw line.

Hoyas guard Darrell Owens, who finished with 18 points on 5-of-7 shooting, hit a 3-pointer with 2:17 remaining that gave Georgetown an 83-79 lead. Notre Dame forward Rick Cornett was fouled on the next Irish possession but missed both free throws.

“We got [to the line] a little bit,” Brey said. “And that sure would have helped us. … I love us at the line, but you have to convert those.”

Quinn answered back with a jumper at 1:33 to cut the lead to two. Quinn led all scorers with 26 points on 9-of-22 shooting. He also added 10 assists.

But on the ensuing possession, Hibbert hit a turnaround in the paint to push the lead back to four – and ultimately seal the victory.

Hibbert matched Owens as the high point man for Georgetown with 18.

In a season that has been difficult for Notre Dame – Tuesday’s loss dropped the Irish to 1-5 in the Big East and 10-7 overall – Quinn emphasized the need to continue to fight in the Big East.

“We have got to stay positive,” Quinn said. “As tough as this game was, as tough as some of our games were, we have to stay positive.”

Georgetown led for the entire game. Notre Dame only forced five ties in regulation, overtime and double overtime despite losing by three points.

The Hoyas (13-4 overall, 4-2 in the Big East) got out to a quick start and led the Irish 29-14 with 4:54 remaining in the first half. But two Quinn free throws with 2:45 left ignited Notre Dame and sent them on a 10-4 run into halftime.

“I don’t think we played very well early in the game, and a lot of that was Georgetown,” Brey said. “They are a very good basketball team.”

Irish guard Russell Carter provided an offensive spark for Notre Dame in the second half. Carter finished with eight points on 2-of-6 shooting, but his ability to run down loose balls and penetrate Georgetown’s defense kept the Irish in the game.

“[Carter] was excellent tonight,” Brey said. “Russell’s a tough kid … and I thought his drives tonight and his offensive decisions were in the flow of things. He let it happen.”

Georgetown finished the game with five players – Owens, Hibbert, Wallace, forward Jeff Green and guard Ashanti Cook – in double figures.

Notre Dame has its work cut out with 10 games remaining before the Big East tournament. Brey said the Irish need to find positives from the loss in order to continue playing hard in the remaining games.

“You’re down, and you’re not looking very good, but you give yourself a chance,” Brey said. “Again, in January, you have got to hang your head on that right now, if you’re digging, and you’re fighting, you’re in [the mix.]”