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Notre Dame Basketball

Notre Dame Fights, Can't Close Out No. 13 Louisville

January 11, 2020
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Notre Dame fought and fought hard on Saturday, but the Irish couldn't close the deal against No. 13 Louisville. 

The Cardinals closed and got out of Purcell Pavilion with a 67-64 win at Purcell Pavilion on Saturday. 

Dwayne Sutton scored 10 points on the day, but hit two backbreaking three-pointers with less than four minutes to play to overtake the Irish, who failed to hit a field goal over the final 3:01. 

“Give them credit,” stated Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey. “They're really good. Sutton drilled two big ones. I feel for us. We had a chance to go up 7 and 4. We couldn't score a little more to get out of there today. I feel for them, but we have to regroup Monday." 

Notre Dame had a chance to extend or tie the game in the final seconds. Prentiss Hubb missed a tough layup and then the Irish couldn’t get a desperation three off before the buzzer sounded.

"We were trying to ball screen,” explained Brey. “We lost it before the final possession. The game was freaking over because Sutton broke our back with two threes. 

“I should’ve had Dane in the game. We put Dane in the press a little bit, but we gambled on defense on two possessions. We reached and ran into passing lanes and that hurt us. Our defense was really good and gave us a chance." 

Louisville almost put the Irish away early on Saturday as they used a 14-3 run to take an 11-point lead with 6:48 left in the first half.

The Irish found themselves in a 36-24 hole at the half, but Dane Goodwin had other plans. 

The sophomore guard nailed two treys along with a three from Mooney in the first four minutes of the second stanza to cut the Louisville lead to 37-35. 

Goodwin finished the game with 14 points with 11 coming in the second half, including three from downtown. 

Brey went with Goodwin in the second half instead of Juwan Durham as he felt the Irish needed to downsize to get back in the game. 

“We couldn't score,” Brey stated. “We had 24 points at halftime. I felt the four-guard lineup would get into a rhythm offensively and pray we could hold our own defensively. We did. 

"I never felt we could play two big guys against them. We couldn't space the floor. I don't know how many layups we missed that hurt us in the first half.

"The only way we were going to get back is if our guard lineup could score. Dane gave us a great lift.  It wasn't anything Juwan (Durham) or Nate wasn't doing. It was we had to just play our guards." 

After Notre Dame cut the lead to 44-42, the two teams traded baskets until Louisville forced the Irish to go 1 of its last 8 to end the game. 

“We've been in three games like that in league play,” Brey said. “We've only won one of them. I have a feeling we'll be in a lot of these. It's exhausting emotionally. I give our guys credit and they answered back a couple of times. 

"They're really good and they made big shots and executed big-time stuff when they were down four." 

Jordan Nwora led the Cardinals with 20 points and four rebounds, while John Mooney had another monster game with 15 points and 19 rebounds. 

And despite Mooney’s efforts, Brey is still looking for someone to close. 

"I really thought when we went up four that it would be so good for us to finish this one,” said Brey. “You can't inject them with late-game confidence. 

"It's definitely not effort. We're fighting, scratching and flying all over the place. You have to have someone make a play. Prentiss did that at Syracuse. We just haven't been able to do that." 

 

Irish Sports Daily
Final Box Score 

 

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Notre Dame Fights, Can't Close Out No. 13 Louisville

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