I wasn’t able to catch the game, but I think I’m glad I didn’t because I likely would’ve suffered a heart attack.
The Irish at one point in the first half had a 14-point lead and at the half’s conclusion lead the Lobos 34-24. Then the Irish nearly completely blow the game in the second half and gave up a 21-9 run.
With just over two minutes left to go in the game, ND trailed the Lobos 66-60. A 3-point play from Harangody and a buzzer-beater from Tory Jackson completed the ND final rush to win 70-68.
Looking at the box-score, this is one of those games the Irish are lucky they didn’t flat out lose. The Lobos were horrible from the free throw line (15-25, 60%) and that alone could’ve spelled doom for ND. The hot hands of the Irish also cooled down from last game (FG – 39%, 3PT – 22%), and I’d take a good wager that during that 21-9 Lobo run everyone was ice cold.
One encouraging stat however was that the Irish outrebounded the Lobos 37-31. Thankfully, it wasn’t just Luke crashing the boards either. Harangody led the Irish with 11 boards, followed by Ayers with 8 and Jackson with 6. Good to see that wasn’t a one-man show this time around.
This was a pretty scary game for the Irish to say the least. Thankfully this wasn’t their last stand this season as blowing a 14-point lead to get bounced from the NIT would just be…well, actually come to think of it, it would’ve been rather fitting considering how this season has gone.
The Irish will now head to Madison Square Garden for the NIT Quarterfinals and play on March 25. The game will be on ESPN2 at either 7pm or 9pm EDT and their opponents will be the winner of tonight’s Creighton/Kentucky game.
Also, little trivia I heard on the radio today: Which team has the most NCAA tournament appearances without winning a title?
Answer: Notre Dame with 29.