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Men’s Basketball: Irish lose in heartbreaker

Pat Leonard | Monday, February 6, 2006

Louisville guard Taquan Dean sank a 3-point buzzer beater at the end of regulation Saturday afternoon at Freedom Hall, sending the game to overtime tied at 80 and evoking a collective response on the Notre Dame bench that said, “Oh, no. Not again.”

Irish senior Chris Murphy pulled his warm-up jersey over his face in disbelief as Dean’s shot fell, and the Cardinals (15-7, 3-6 Big East) went on to win 89-86 in the extra period, handing the Irish (10-10, 1-8) their ninth loss by six points or fewer this season.

Notre Dame guard Chris Quinn led all scorers with 31 points (11-of-21 field goals), making two free throws with 11.2 seconds remaining to put his team up, 80-77. But Dean ran off several screens on the ensuing possession and curled around Louisville forward David Padgett (24 points) to make the tying shot from the right side, despite a hand in his face from Irish center Torin Francis (three points, 10 rebounds).

In overtime, Irish shooting guard Colin Falls missed a 3-point attempt down 88-86. Louisville guard Brandon Jenkins’ only missed free throw attempt of the afternoon (7-of-8) with 8.5 seconds left gave Notre Dame a chance to tie. Quinn rushed upcourt guarded by Dean and forced a running 3-pointer from the right wing, but the shot fell short, and so did the Irish – again.

The Irish and Louisville shot an identical 42.2 percent from the field, each making 27-64 total shots as a team. Both teams also attempted about half of their field goals from the 3-point line. The Irish made more from behind the arc (17-of-34), while the Cardinals sank 13-of-28.

But Louisville also scored 25 second-chance points to Notre Dame’s seven, offsetting hot outside shooting from Quinn and Carter (10-of-15 combined from 3-point range).

The loss pushes Notre Dame one step further away from its goal of reaching the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden in March.

The top 12 teams will advance to the postseason tournament from the new, 16-team Big East. At 1-8, Notre Dame remains No. 15, ahead of only South Florida (0-8) in the standings.

The Irish started off Saturday’s game by making seven of their first 10 3-point attempts by the 10:10 mark, when Notre Dame led 25-23. But Louisville went on a 6-0 run, capped by Jenkins’ strip of Quinn near mid-court that led to a fast-break lay up and a 29-25 Cardinals lead with 5:10 remaining.

Notre Dame trailed at halftime, 44-38, not attempting a free throw in the first 20 minutes.

Four of the remaining seven teams on the Irish schedule have losing records in the Big East – Rutgers (3-6), South Florida (0-8), DePaul (2-7) and Providence (3-6).

Notre Dame hosts Rutgers Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Joyce Center, then has a week before its next game, a home contest with last-place South Florida.