Notre Dame men's basketball dumped in double overtime by Louisville

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND - It was back to a familiar basketball place against a familiar basketball face — overtime with Louisville — for Notre Dame on Tuesday at Purcell Pavilion.

One extra session wasn’t enough. The Irish and Cardinals needed another additional five-minute segment before Louisville made enough plays to escape into a cold and snowy night with an 82-78 victory.

The Irish had chances to win it at the end of regulation and in the first overtime, but came up empty both times. The Cardinals then led by as many as five and for all but 49 seconds in the final five minutes.

It was Louisville's first win in South Bend since 1994. It was Notre Dame's third-straight loss, the last two by a combined five points. The Irish slip to 13-6, 3-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"We put ourselves in position to win, just like the last game," said Irish guard Matt Farrell in reference to Saturday's one-point loss to North Carolina. "We very well could be 5-1 right now, but we're 3-3.

"Sometimes that's just how it is."

It was the ninth time in the series that the teams played at least one additional five-minute session. That includes a run of four of five games that went to at least one overtime. And one — five years ago next month — that went to five overtimes. Tuesday was the first game to go overtime since that memorable Saturday night/Sunday morning in South Bend.

Notre Dame trailed by three with 2:29 left in overtime before a corner 3 from Nikola Djogo tied it at 67. The teams traded baskets before a two-hand dunk from Martinas Geben gave the Irish a 71-69 lead with 44.5 seconds left. 

Geben posted career highs for points (22), rebounds (17), offensive rebounds (11) and minutes (42).

"I have to produce," Geben said.

In his first game since Jan. 3, Farrell scored 23 points with eight assists in 48 minutes.

The Irish had several chances at the go-ahead bucket in the final minute of regulation following a Djogo steal but they couldn’t convert. One shot. two shots. A scramble. All at the rim in a wild sequence. They were able to get a loose ball and a timeout to set up the final sequence with 16.4 seconds left. Farrell had his shot blocked with three seconds left. Farrell’s corner 3 at the buzzer fell short and it was on to an extra five minutes.

Farrell again had a chance to win it at the end of the first overtime but missed another 3 with three seconds left.

"I had a chance twice to win the game and it was tough," Farrell said. "I'm going to keep replaying that in my head all night. It is what it is."

What it is is deflating and, at times, disheartening for an Irish team that does a whole lot right to win, but keeps ending up on the wrong end of the final score.

"These guys fight so hard, man" Farrell said. "We're going through so much right now and I'm telling, you it can only make us stronger."

But when? Time's ticking away on making a move and trying to get to 9-9 in the ACC and get back to the NCAA tournament for a fourth-straight year. Paramount to doing that is winning at home, where the Irish have now lost two in a row.

That means they'll have to win two on the road somewhere to get back to a break-even chance. 

"We're figuring things out," Farrell said.

With too few answers.

"We might be thinking too much on the offense," Geben said.

The Irish had a chance to tie it at the end of the second overtime, but T.J. Gibbs penetrated too deep and had his layup hit nothing but the bottom of the backboard.

Why is it so hard for an Irish team that has historically been so good executing game situations do to so when the game is on the line? Happened last week against Georgia Tech and North Carolina. Happened again Tuesday.

"I don't know," Irish coach Mike Brey said. "I love the look we got (from Farrell) at the end of regulation. You've got to give Louisville's defense a lot of credit."

The Cardinals held the Irish, last in field goal percentage for league games coming in, to 38 percent from the field, 28.9 percent from 3. Notre Dame attempted a season-high 38 shots from 3. It made 11.

The Irish had to work the final 6:52 of regulation and overtime without Rex Pflueger, who fouled out with three points.

Farrell played early like he had sat and watched the last three and a half games, which he did. He was seemingly everywhere and doing everything for the Irish. He hit for 15 points in the first 13 minutes. His old-fashioned three-point play allowed Notre Dame to extend its lead into double figures (26-16) with 7:07 remaining.

That was the good news. But then more of the bad showed up. Specifically, on the offensive end. Notre Dame missed its next 11 shots and went scoreless for 6:50. That allowed Louisville to run off 15 unanswered points to go up by as many as four.

At one point after watching another empty Irish possession, Brey waved his hands toward the floor in disgust. It was easy to understand his displeasure. The Irish were in no flow whatsoever.

A Mooney semi-tip, semi-dunk in the closing seconds finally stopped the first-half bleeding.

Farrell being back in the mix also returned some stability to the starting lineup. The same five that started 13 days earlier against North Carolina State in what was Notre Dame’s best league performance were back together again Tuesday.

That group didn’t last long. Freshman D.J. Harvey grabbed a defensive rebound with just over eight minutes remaining in the first half before crumpling to the floor and grabbing his left knee. Harvey was helped to the trainer’s room in obvious pain.

Harvey returned to the front row of seats behind the Irish bench early in the second half with crutches and a full brace on his left leg. Never a good sign.

"He was in a lot of pain," Brey said.

Brey said afterward that Harvey appears to have suffered cartilage damage with the knee. A Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI) is scheduled for Wednesday to determine the extent of the damage. Brey figured the Irish will be without Harvey for "a while."

Brey hopes to have Harvey back sometime in February.

"The plot thickens," he said.

Thickens like a morning fog. Can the Irish find their way out?


At Purcell Pavilion

LOUISVILLE (14-4): V.J. King 1-6 0-0 2, Ray Spalding 10-16 3-3 23, Deng Adel 6-12 0-0 14, Malik Williams 0-1 2-2 2, Quentin Snider 7-12 6-6 22, Dwayne Sutton 0-1 0-0 0, Anas Mahmoud 2-3 0-2 4, Jordan Nwora 1-3 4-4 6, Darius Perry 0-1 0-0 0, Ryan McMahon 3-6 0-0 9. Totals 30-61 15-17 82.

NOTRE DAME (13-6): Martinas Geben 10-13 2-5 22, Rex Pflueger 1-8 0-0 3, Matt Farrell 8-25 3-3 23, T.J. Gibbs 5-17 0-0 12, D.J. Harvey 1-2 0-0 3, Elijah Burns 0-0 0-0 0, Austin Torres 0-1 0-0 0, John Mooney 3-6 0-0 8, Nikola Djogo 2-7 2-3 7. Totals 30-79 7-11 78.

Halftime--Louisville 30-28. End Of Regulation--Tied 62. End Of 1st Overtime--Tied 71. 3-Point Goals--Louisville 7-20 (McMahon 3-6, Snider 2-5, Adel 2-5, King 0-1, Williams 0-1, Perry 0-1, Nwora 0-1), Notre Dame 11-38 (Farrell 4-14, Mooney 2-4, Gibbs 2-9, Harvey 1-1, Djogo 1-4, Pflueger 1-6). Fouled Out--Pflueger. Rebounds--Louisville 33 (Spalding 12), Notre Dame 44 (Geben 17). Assists--Louisville 14 (Snider 7), Notre Dame 17 (Farrell 8). Total Fouls--Louisville 12, Notre Dame 15. A--9,076 (9,149).

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Twitter: @tnoieNDI