Irish shoot past Marquette into Big East semisMar 15, 2013 - 5:34 AM New York, NY (Sports Network) - Pat Connaughton has found his range at Madison Square Garden, as Notre Dame's sharpshooter drained six 3-pointers for the second straight night to help the 24th-ranked Fighting Irish down 12th-ranked Marquette, 73-65, in quarterfinal action of the Big East Tournament.
Connaughton finished with 18 points, Jerian Grant added 17 and Garrick Sherman had 16 off the bench for Notre Dame (25-8), which started slow but recovered in time to advance to the semifinals for the fourth straight year.
"The game didn't start really well for us, but we fought back," Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said. "We made such big plays at key times, and everybody had a hand in it."
The sixth-seeded Irish will next play Louisville on Friday in the third meeting between the schools this season, one of which was a five-overtime thriller won by Notre Dame last month.
Marquette (23-8) went on a 6-1 stretch to finish the regular season tied atop the conference standings with Georgetown and Louisville, but failed to win in this event for the second consecutive year.
Jamil Wilson led the Golden Eagles with 16 points, while Junior Cadougan and Vander Blue netted 14 and 12, respectively, in the loss.
"We have to be a lot better than we were today," Marquette head coach Buzz Williams said of his team's NCAA Tournament prospects. "This part of the season is over, but we need to learn from it and grow from it and then flush it out and begin to prepare for whoever we're going to play next week."
The second half featured 11 lead changes in the first 10 minutes, and it remained close until a Connaughton 3-pointer capped a 9-2 run that gave the Irish a 59-52 lead with 3:33 to play.
The Eagles pulled within five, 62-57, before another deep make by Connaughton provided some cushion. The outcome was decided by Notre Dame making 8-of-10 free throws down the stretch.
The Irish came out wearing neon green uniforms with a camouflage pattern, and their play over the first nine minutes was just as unsightly as they missed 15 of their first 17 shots.
They found themselves down, 17-4, following a Todd Mayo layup in transition before hitting their rhythm by scoring on five straight possessions.
Notre Dame ended the half on a 15-3 run -- sparked by Sherman's six points -- and went into the break holding a 29-25 advantage.
Marquette committed 16 turnovers to Notre Dame's seven ... Notre Dame's Jack Cooley was held to six points. The First-Team All-Big East forward has scored in double digits just once in his last five games.
- NOTRE DAME: 73
Mar 14 11:54 PM
- NOTRE DAME: 29
Mar 14 10:35 PM
- NOTRE DAME: 0
1st Half - 20:00
Mar 14 9:46 PM
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