Mar 15, 2013, 2:54 AM EDT
As excited as Notre Dame might be to begin playing in the ACC, the Irish aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to the BIG EAST yet.
Trailing 17-4 early against Marquette, it had the makings of a long night in the World’s Most Famous Arena. The shots weren’t falling (the team started 2-for-16 from the field) and it seemed like the only bright spots that had carried over from Wednesday night were the adidas shoes and uniforms.
But Notre Dame went on a 25-8 run and took a four-point lead into the locker room, before outlasting the Golden Eagles during a back-and-forth second half, securing a 73-65 win at Madison Square Garden.
There were five ties and 13 lead changes. It was the type of exciting game you would expect out of the final BIG EAST tournament (or “final BIG EAST tournament as we know it,” I should say).
During the team’s meeting on Thursday morning, head coach Mike Brey urged Jerian Grant to not let mistakes get in his head, or in his way of making the next big play. The junior guard obviously heard his coach’s advice, finishing the game with 17, to go along with six rebounds and six assists.
Coming off the bench, Garrick Sherman played 24 minutes and scored 16 points, including 10 in the second half.
And for the second straight night, it was Pat Connaughton who led Notre Dame offensively. Though the Irish baseball team would probably love to have him on the mound, the sophomore is looking to play hoops deep into March. After scoring 21 points and making six threes on Wednesday, Connaughton tallied 18 on 6-for-10 shooting beyond the arc against Marquette. He’s 12-for-18 from three-point range in the tournament so far.
It was the second tournament meeting between the two Catholic schools, but unlike 2008, when #6 seed Marquette defeated #3 seed Notre Dame, this year, it was the Irish that pulled the #6-over-#3 upset. On a day after a Jesuit was selected to be the new pope, you might say this was a little victory for the Congregation of Holy Cross.
With the win, the Fighting Irish advance to their fourth straight BIG EAST semifinal, where for the third consecutive year, they will meet – who else? The Louisville Cardinals.
If you’re a BIG EAST junkie, it doesn’t get any better than Friday’s semifinal pairings. Conference heavyweights and founding members Syracuse and Georgetown battle at 7 pm, before recent rivals and future ACC foes Notre Dame and Louisville meet at 9:30ish. Both the Orange and Irish will be looking to avenge losses in last week’s regular season finales.
Notre Dame now finds itself one win away from earning its first (and last) coveted spot in Saturday’s BIG EAST championship game at The Garden. It only seems right that the Irish will have to go through Louisville to get there.
Rest up. Friday is going to be fun night to be a college hoops fan.
Side note: For a little added entertainment, check out Coach Brey encouraging Eric Atkins to bank in his free throw after air-balling his first attempt.
About In The Paint
Women’s Basketball on YouTube
Notre Dame Women's Basketball Defeat French All-Stars in Madrid
Length: 1:54 | August 12, 2013
Kayla McBride Talks About The 75-57 Win - Women's Basketball
Length: 1:14 | August 12, 2013
Notre Dame Women's Basketball Defeat French All-Stars in Barcelona
Length: 1:28 | August 12, 2013
Skylar Diggins Look Back - Notre Dame Women's Basketball
Length: 4:19 | May 2, 2013
- RT @GoIrishCoachO: Great Job @ruthriley00 for your inspiring words at the Food Bank of Northern Indiana!!! Proud of you!💚 17 hours ago
- A very proud and close #NDFamily! #coaches #players #teammates WE ARE...ND 🍀🏀🍀 http://t.co/KOR7fi5rqv 17 hours ago
- So proud of the efforts made by @ruthriley00 on and off the court. Today, she is the keynote speaker… instagram.com/p/m5gYO2vFDB/ 18 hours ago
- It's a pleasure to be invited and recognized at the @FoodBkNIndiana's annual luncheon! 18 hours ago
- #tbt to Easter 2013 at NCAA Regionals- Norfolk... quality family time! #eggcoloring http://t.co/mXpJMooJwJ 21 hours ago
Men’s Basketball on YouTube
Meet The Freshmen, Demetrius Jackson - Notre Dame Men's Basketball
Length: 1:08 | August 1, 2013
Meet The Freshmen, V.J. Beachem - Notre Dame Men's Basketball
Length: 1:13 | July 30, 2013
Meet The Freshmen, Steve Vasturia - Notre Dame Men's Basketball
Length: 1:06 | July 25, 2013
Meet The Freshmen, Austin Torres - Notre Dame Men's Basketball
Length: 1:13 | July 23, 2013
- .@gsherm11's squad bests @EAtkins0 team at Portsmouth Invitational with 92-91 win...EA has 9 pts and 10 asts., while Sherm nets 19 pts. 12 hours ago
- .@EAtkins0 and @gsherm11 square off against each other today at 3:15. Follow all the action at: tinyurl.com/cobtza7 19 hours ago
- .@EAtkins0 played 30 minutes for K&D Rounds Landscaping and had 5 its, 5 asts. and 3 st.s for his K&D Rounds Landscaping in 71-66 loss. 19 hours ago
- From the Portsmouth Invitational last night ... @gsherm11 led his Portsmouth Sports Club team with 19 points and 11 rebounds in 77-74 loss. 20 hours ago
- Action gets underway this evening for @EAtkins0 and @gsherm11 at Portsouth Invitational ...Follow all the action at: tinyurl.com/cobtza7 1 day ago
- Track. Men Finish Day One Of ACCs In Fourth, Women In Tenth
- Softball. #21/22 Irish Make First Appearance At Virginia This Weekend
- W. Golf. Notre Dame Tied For Fifth Following First Day Of ACC Women's Golf Championship
- M. Lacrosse. Fighting Irish Await Tough Test From The Terps
- Fencing. Three NCAA Champions In Three Days: A Landmark Weekend in the History of Notre Dame Athletics