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Irish Cap Off Great Day of Basketball With a Win

Dec 15, 2012, 7:41 PM EDT

Kudos to whoever had the idea to start the Crossroads Classic.

The concept is nothing extraordinary, really. Four teams. two games. One December afternoon in Indianapolis.

But in a state where people eat, sleep and breathe basketball, the event is a genius idea. A week and a half before Christmas, it felt more like mid-March as the Hoosier State’s four biggest college basketball teams met in the second annual Close the Gap Crossroads Classic.

Playing just 6.1 miles from its home court at Hinkle Fieldhouse, Butler battled Indiana in an absolute thriller. As they’ve done time and time over the past few seasons, the Bulldogs once again pulled off a memorable upset, shocking the #1 Hoosiers in overtime, before a sellout crowd dressed mostly in crimson and cream.

Three Butler players fouled out, and it was walk-on Alex Barlow who scored what turned out to be the winning basket in a contest that had all the drama and emotion of an NCAA tournament game.

While it was the opener that had the college basketball nation longing for Selection Sunday, if you’re a Fighting Irish fan, the closing act didn’t disappoint either.

In the first game between #22 Notre Dame and Purdue since 2004, the Irish survived the Boilermakers’ second half rally to improve to 9-1 this season.

Up by more than 20 at one point in the second half, Notre Dame saw its lead cut to nine with 5:41 to play, but held on for an 81-68 victory, thanks in part to clutch free throwing shooting down the final stretch.

Jack Cooley scored 18 points, to lead four players in double digits. Eric Atkins (17), Pat Connaughton (16) and Garrick Sherman (11) also sparked the Irish offensively. Both Atkins’ and Connaughton’s marks were season highs.

Notre Dame will head back to South Bend this evening, and prepare for a busy week ahead. IPFW (Monday), Kennesaw State (Wednesday) and Niagara (Friday) come to town before the Irish have some time off for Christmas (They won’t play again until Jan. 5 against Seton Hall).

Check back to for a full recap and highlights later. For now, here are a few pictures from a great day in Indy.

  1. Matt Lang ('13) - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    Definitely a great day of basketball for the state of Indiana. The atmosphere was incredibly unique and hopefully this is a tradition we can continue to enjoy for years to come.

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