Notre Dame tops UConn in wild finishMar 6, 2011 - 1:59 AM Notre Dame survived a wild finish and came back to beat 16th-ranked Connecticut, 70-67, at Gampel Pavilion.
Tyrone Nash scored 13 points and pulled down five boards and Carleton Scott added 13 points for the Fighting Irish (25-5, 14-4 Big East), who finished in second place in the conference standings, one game behind Pittsburgh.
Notre Dame will be the second seed and receive a double-bye in next week's Big East Tournament.
Tim Abromaitis supplied 11 points and seven caroms for the visitors, who closed the regular season with wins in 11 of their last 12 games.
Kemba Walker led all scorers with 34 points but missed a potential game- winning three in the final seconds. Shabazz Napier and Jeremy Lamb each totaled nine points for the Huskies (21-9, 9-9), who will play in the first round of the conference tournament Tuesday at Madison Square Garden after losing their second straight game and for the fourth time in five outings to finish the regular season.
"It's definitely hard when you keep losing, especially in a game like this where you could have had it," said Connecticut center Alex Oriakhi. "Next time around (in the Big East tournament), when you lose, you're not playing again. So, now we're definitely in for a fight."
Trailing by three, Notre Dame got threes from Scott and Hansbrough and a dunk from Abromaitis to start the second half to take a 41-38 lead less than two minutes in.
Jack Cooley's layup extended the lead to 60-50 just past the midway point of the half before Hansbrough fouled out 1 1/2 minutes later and the momentum of the game completely changed.
Walker's pull-up jumper finished a 15-0 run to give the Huskies a 65-60 advantage inside of 4 1/2 minutes to play. Nash's three-point play finally stopped the bleeding 30 seconds later.
Scott Martin's short jumper knotted the score with three minutes to go and a driving layup by Abromaitis put the Irish back in the lead with 2:11 left.
Nash knocked down a pair at the line with 92 ticks to go to extend the Irish lead to 69-65 before Jamal Coombs-McDaniel's follow shot sliced the lead to two.
Abromaitis misfired on a three prior to Walker and Okwandu both missing from close range at the other end. However, Martin missed two at the line with 20.3 seconds left giving UConn an opportunity to try to even the score or take the lead.
Walker missed his left-wing triple with under 10 seconds to go and Nash made 1-of-2 at the line, leaving the Huskies one last-gasp chance. But Donnell Beverly mishandled a pass and the hosts never got a shot off before the game ended.
"I'm very proud of our group," Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said. "You know, to keep the chase on Pittsburgh right up until the last game. They've been in a great chase for five weeks. I'm really proud of the group that finished the game. We lose Ben, and I thought we showed great poise in a tough atmosphere, against an unbelievable player in Walker."
Hansbrough sandwiched a tip-in between two three-pointers to finish a 12-4 burst that gave the Irish a 24-20 lead with just under 6 1/2 minutes left in the first half.
Napier's triple finished off a 10-3 run that put UConn back on top, 32-29, with slightly less than three minutes remaining before the break.
Jeremy Lamb's alley-oop dunk off a Napier feed pushed the Huskies cushion to 36-31 with 1:23 to go before Scott's jumper with 17 ticks left cut the lead to three at the intermission.
The 25 regular season wins were the most for Notre Dame in the modern era...The 1908-09 team won 33 times during the regular season...Scott was 3- of-7 from long range as the Irish knocked down 10-of-24 after hitting 20 from beyond the arc in Monday's win over Villanova...Notre Dame won for the first time in four tries at Gampel and is 2-10 at UConn...Walker had his eighth 30-point game of the season, one shy of the single-season record set by Wes Bialosuknia during the 1966-67 season...He also climbed past Bialosuknia, Ray Allen and Caron Butler into seventh-place on the single-season scoring list with 694 points...The Huskies finished 5-6 against ranked opponents this season...UConn is 138-20 at Gampel and 71-16 in Big East play on that floor...Huskies' head coach Jim Calhoun will have to wait until next season to join Syracuse's Jim Boeheim as the only coaches to win 300 Big East games. He is 299-173 in league play.
- NOTRE DAME: 70
Mar 5 4:02 PM
- NOTRE DAME: 70
End of Regulation
Mar 5 4:02 PM
- NOTRE DAME: 33
Mar 5 2:53 PM
- NOTRE DAME: 0
1st Half - 20:00
Mar 5 2:13 PM
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