Irish beat Louisville with dominant OTFeb 10, 2011 - 3:48 AM South Bend, IN (Sports Network) - Notre Dame survived two Preston Knowles three-point attempts in the final minute of regulation before dominating in overtime, as Carleton Scott scored nine of his 16 points in the extra session to spark the eighth-ranked Fighting Irish over No. 16 Louisville, 89-79.
The Big East battle was no more than a two-possession game the entire second half and featured 13 ties and 10 lead changes. The Cardinals had two tries to hand the Irish their first home loss of the season in the closing seconds, but Knowles missed two from long range to force an extra five minutes.
Notre Dame cruised in OT, scoring the first 14 points to reach 20 wins by the earliest calendar date in program history.
Ben Hansbrough paced the Irish (20-4, 9-3 Big East) with 25 points despite playing in foul trouble for most of the game, and Tim Abromaitis chipped in 23 points and eight rebounds in the team's sixth straight win.
Kyle Kuric led all scorers with 28 points, while Terrence Jennings added 14 points and seven rebounds for Louisville (18-6, 7-4), which had won three of four.
Both teams entered the game near the top of the conference standings, and the outcome was appropriately decided down the stretch.
Louisville's Peyton Siva threw down an uncontested dunk and converted a tough drive for a 72-68 lead with a little over 3 1/2 minutes showing in the fourth.
Scott countered with a dunk at the other end, and after a series of empty touches, Hansbrough tied the game again by cutting between two defenders for an easy deuce with 1:53 on the clock.
Jennings' inside bucket was followed by two free throws from Tyrone Nash, and the Cardinals held the ball over the final 1:02 thanks to Hansbrough knocking a sure rebound out of bounds off Knowles' first missed three.
That miss came with 25.6 seconds left, and the Cardinals ran down the clock and attempted a deep try from the right wing at the buzzer, but Knowles' second crack at the win hit all iron.
Scott opened the extra session with a three-pointer, Hansbrough tacked on two free throws and Scott added three the old-fashioned way for the Irish's biggest lead of the game at that point, 82-74, less than two minutes in.
Nash made it double-digits with a jumper, and following Kuric's missed layup under the basket, Scott sent the Joyce Center crowd into a frenzy with a reverse dunk, providing too big a margin for Louisville to overcome.
"We certainly defended the last five minutes of the game to get to overtime, and then I thought we were fabulous in overtime," Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said. "Our seniors finished the game and started the overtime because they felt they could win for us. It was a heck of a game."
Kuric exploded for 18 points in the first half and capped it with a thunderous dunk over Scott Martin while getting fouled. However, he was given a technical foul for taunting, and Abromaitis' two free throws followed by Kuric's make from the stripe resulted in a 44-40 halftime score in favor of the visitors.
"I was surprised to get that call, but it happens. The ref said that when I looked down at him, I taunted him and he gave me a [technical]," recalled Kuric.
The Irish scored the first seven points of the second half to continue the back-and-forth affair, and it stayed a see-saw battle from there.
Five of last nine meetings in this series have gone to overtime...Notre Dame improved to 15-0 at home this season...Five of the Irish's nine conference wins have come against ranked opponents...Knowles, playing through a hamstring injury, ended with 13 points on 5-of-17 shooting....Notre Dame's Jack Cooley scored all 10 off his points in the first half, hitting all five of his shots from the field...Notre Dame made 12 more free throws (20-28) and won the battle on the glass (42-30).
- LOUISVILLE: 79
NOTRE DAME: 89
Final - OT
Feb 9 9:10 PM
- LOUISVILLE: 74
NOTRE DAME: 74
End of Regulation
Feb 9 8:57 PM
- LOUISVILLE: 44
NOTRE DAME: 40
Feb 9 7:47 PM
- LOUISVILLE: 0
NOTRE DAME: 0
1st Half - 20:00
Feb 9 7:04 PM
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