Notre Dame rallied from eight points down with less than a minute to send their contest with Louisville to overtime. And that was only the beginning.
The two teams traded punches through five overtime periods before the Fighting Irish finally emerged on top, 104-101. It was a layup by Cameron Biedscheid with 1:19 left in the fifth overtime that finally gave No. 25 Notre Dame the separation it needed from Louisville in one of the most exciting college basketball games of the year.
Russ Smith had a chance to tie it for Louisville, but his three-point attempt missed the mark as Notre Dame students rushed the floor to celebrate. This marks the sixth time in the last eight meetings that Notre Dame and Louisville needed overtime to determine the winner, The Associated Press noted.
The game was back and forth the entire way, with the lead changing 26 times to go along with 16 ties.
This one didn’t appear to be going that way, at least until the final seconds. Louisville was able to extend its lead to eight points with less than a minute remaining, but Notre Dame hit three straight 3-pointers as part of a 12-4 run to end regulation. The Cardinals had a chance to win in regulation, but couldn’t get a shot off as they lost control under the basket.
The game was almost too unreal to be believed, writes ESPN‘s Eamonn Brennan:
“Notre Dame looked cooked with as few as 50 seconds left, but Irish guard Jerian Grant hit a trio of deep 3-pointers, Louisville missed a few free throws, and when Grant drove to the basket to make a game-tying three-point play, all of a sudden the game was tied at 60. Overtime.
“Just how crazy was this? Notre Dame took 39 minutes and 10 seconds to score 48 points. It took 29 seconds to score 12.”
The Notre Dame-Louisville contest was reminiscent of another college basketball classic from the Big East. In 2009 Syracuse needed six overtime periods to beat Connecticut in the Big East Tournament.