Scores

Final OT

Notre Dame 86

(10-10, 1-8 Big East)

Louisville 89

(15-7, 3-6 Big East)

12:00 PM ET, February 4, 2006

1 2 OT T
ND 38 42 686
LOU 44 36 989

Top Performers

Notre Dame: R. Carter 24 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

Louisville: D. Padgett 24 Pts, 8 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Blk

ND loses 8 conference games by a total of 26 points

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- In the end, the option play didn't really have an option.

Trailing Notre Dame by three with 12 seconds left on Saturday at Freedom Hall, Louisville coach Rick Pitino called a play that would get forward Juan Palacios open for a 3-pointer.

Guard Taquan Dean had other ideas.

"This is my last year, I'm going to take that shot," said Dean, whose game-tying off-balance 3-pointer as time expired in regulation propelled the Cardinals to an 89-86 overtime win. "Either way, I was going to take that shot."

The Cardinals (15-7, 3-6) never trailed in the extra session to revive their Big East tournament hopes while extending Notre Dame's conference misery. The Fighting Irish (10-10, 1-8) have lost their eight Big East games by a combined 26 points.

"You knew Dean was going to try to take a forced 3," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "We tried to steal one on the road, we had it right there, and that's when we needed to win it, right there. ... Louisville was fearless to put that game into overtime."

David Padgett added 24 points and eight rebounds and Brandon Jenkins hit a layup with 22 seconds left in overtime as Louisville found a way to survive after suffering a handful of close losses of its own in its first season in the Big East.

"We made smart plays tonight at the defensive end," Pitino said. "[Winning] can help [our confidence] immensely."

Chris Quinn had 31 points for Notre Dame and Russell Carter added 24. But the Fighting Irish couldn't close it out after Quinn hit two free throws with 12 seconds to play that put them up 80-77.

Instead, they allowed Louisville's best shooter to free himself at his favorite spot on the floor. Though the play Pitino drew up broke down, Dean wiggled free. He said the thoughts of missing -- and dropping the Cardinals even further down the totem poll in the new-look Big East -- didn't even cross his mind.

"All I was thinking was I needed to get the ball up," Dean said. "If I get it up, I'll make it."

Louisville entered the game tied for 12th in the conference, while the Fighting Irish were 15th in the 16-team league. Only 12 teams make the conference tournament at Madison Square Garden next month.

Dean's heroics kept Louisville's hopes of making it to New York alive. With winnable games against struggling Cincinnati and South Florida ahead on the schedule, the Cardinals think they may have turned a corner in their topsy-turvy season.

Louisville was ranked as high as fourth in the nation in December, but struggled through the first half of their conference schedule, playing teams tough only to come apart in the last five minutes. By making the plays when they had to against Notre Dame, Jenkins said Louisville's seven new players shouldn't be intimidated anymore.

"It lets them know we can be in there and we can win close games," Jenkins said. "Don't be scared, just get in there with confidence."

After playing in so many close games this season, the Fighting Irish thought they had figured out how to win. But when Quinn missed a running 3-pointer with 4 seconds left, they dropped their fifth straight game. All five losses came down to the last shot.

"We should have had poise, we should have been tougher in overtime," Quinn said.

Still, with seven games left, the Fighting Irish say they haven't given up hope.

"The mood is fine," Carter said. "Obviously we're distraught about this game, but it's happened to us before. We're just going to have to bounce back and continue play hard. That's all we can do at this point."

The Fighting Irish had been notoriously slow starters during a brutal early conference schedule, but Quinn's hot shooting gave Notre Dame an eight-point lead.

Louisville rallied behind Dean and freshman guard Andre McGee. The Cardinals held Notre Dame scoreless for more than 6 minutes then used three straight 3-pointers by McGee. The freshman took on more of a shooter's role because of the absence of freshman swingman Terrence Williams, who sat out the game for academic reasons.

The Cardinals were 8-of-13 from 3-point range in the half to take a 44-38 lead, just the third time in conference play they led at halftime.

Notre Dame rallied, however, taking a 60-59 lead on a 3-pointer by Quinn with 9:21 to play, and the teams traded the lead four times down the stretch.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ESPNChicago.com 

Team Stat Comparison

 
ND
LOU
Points 86 89
FG Made-Attempted 27-64 (.422) 27-64 (.422)
3P Made-Attempted 17-34 (.500) 13-28 (.464)
FT Made-Attempted 15-18 (.833) 22-31 (.710)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (0/0) 20 (0/0)
Largest Lead 8 10

2005-06 Season

DATEGAMELINKS
» Feb 4, 2006 @LOU 89, ND 86Recap