Game Notes: Irish post most single-season wins in over a century
Brian Hartnett | Sunday, March 29, 2015
With Notre Dame’s 68-66 loss to Kentucky in the Midwest regional final on Saturday night, the Irish fell to 1-5 in regional final appearances. Notre Dame’s lone Elite Eight victory came in 1978, when the Irish defeated DePaul, 84-64, to advance to the Final Four.
Notre Dame’s final record this season is 32-6. The 32 victories mark the second-most in a single season in program history, trailing only the 1908-1909 team and its 33 victories. The 1908-1909 team did not play in a postseason, as the NCAA tournament did not begin until 1939.
Notre Dame started the same rotation of senior guard Jerian Grant, senior guard Pat Connaughton, junior forward Zach Auguste, sophomore guard Steve Vasturia and sophomore guard Demetrius Jackson in 36 of 38 games this season. Grant, Connaughton, Vasturia and Jackson started in all 38 games. Auguste did not start against Georgia Tech on Jan. 14 and Miami (Fla.) on Jan. 17. Freshman forward Martin Geben started in Auguste’s place against the Yellow Jackets, and freshman forward Bonzie Colson got the start against the Hurricanes.
Grant and Connaughton concluded their Notre Dame careers Saturday. Grant ranks third in the Notre Dame record books in assists (690), fifth in games started (117), fifth in steals (175), ninth in 3-pointers made (179) and 11th in points scored (1,739). Connaughton ranks first in program history in games played (139), third in games started (123), fifth in 3-pointers made (268), ninth in rebounds (823) and 17th in points scored (1,465). Connaughton made his 120th consecutive start Saturday.
Kentucky’s two-point victory over the Irish was tied for the undefeated Wildcats’ smallest margin of victory this season. Kentucky defeated LSU, 71-69, on Feb. 10. Kentucky has won by five or fewer points only three times this season.
With the win, Kentucky is the first team in the history of college basketball to start a season 38-0, and the Wildcats have tied the record for the most wins in a season in Division I history. Kentucky’s 38-game winning streak is the longest in program history.