MEN’S BASKETBALL: Last-second jumper lifts Marquette
Bobby Griffin | Monday, January 23, 2006
Marquette forward Steve Novak hit a game-winning fadeaway jump shot with 1.1 seconds remaining to defeat Notre Dame 67-65 Friday and hand the Irish their fourth Big East conference loss in five tries.
“He made a tough shot,” Irish coach Mike Brey said. “I thought we had a pretty good awareness of him. We wanted to switch stuff, so we always had people on him. [McAlarney] followed him around after coming off, and he hit a very tough shot.”
The senior received the pass and released the ball past the outstretched arm of Notre Dame guard Kyle McAlarney, after being forced towards the sideline.
The 6-foot-1 McAlarney did all he could to block the 6-foot-10 Novak’s fadeaway. However, altering the shot was difficult regardless of the height difference.
“It could have been 6-foot-10 against 6-foot-10,” Irish guard Colin Falls said. “Nobody was getting a hand on that shot. It was just a great shot.”
Novak led all scorers with 28 points on 11-of-18 shooting. He was 6-of-10 from 3-point range.
Notre Dame took the lead with 2:46 left in the second half when Chris Quinn made a layup and got fouled on the shot. The senior guard made the free throw and pushed the score to 65-63.
But the Irish did not score in the remaining minutes, failing to capitalize on key chances down the stretch.
“You would like to almost walk through the possessions where we had the ball up two, we had some offensive possessions there,” Brey said. “You get either one of those and you don’t have to absorb [Novak’s game-winner] as much.”
Marquette guard Dominic James drove to the basket and hit a game-tying lay-up with 45.9 seconds remaining in the game. The freshman guard scored 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting.
The Irish led by three at the half after getting out to a quick start. Quinn led Irish scorers with eight points at the break.
“I think we were up 10 in the first half and we were pretty comfortable with the way we were playing,” Falls said. “Novak made some tough shots and put some pressure on us, but we were spotting it every time they got the lead. I guess they took the last punch.”
Falls led Notre Dame scorers with 21 points on 6-of-14 shooting. All of Falls’ field goal attempts came from 3-point range.
Quinn added 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting for the Irish.
The loss dropped Notre Dame to 10-6 and 1-4 in Big East play. All four of Notre Dame’s league losses are by a combined 17 points.
“It can get a little frustrating but we have no time to hang our heads,” Quinn said. “We have another game coming up against a great team in Georgetown and we need to figure out a way to get some of these close ones.”
Brey said he is confident the Irish will begin to see improvement in their record if they continue to play these close games.
“When you look around the league, people sometimes aren’t even in the darn thing,” Brey said. “If we can keep battling and give ourselves a chance in game situations, I think it’s going to pay off for us over the long haul.”
u For the second consecutive game, McAlarney logged 30-plus minutes. He played 30 minutes in Notre Dame’s win over Providence and 36 minutes against Marquette.
“You put Kyle McAlarney in the game and he breaks the game open,” Brey said. “You ride what’s going good.”