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An Instant Classic: Notre Dame Defeats Louisville in 5 OTs

Feb 10, 2013, 3:56 AM EDT

Coming into Saturday’s matchup, Notre Dame and Louisville had gone to overtime in six of their past ten meetings.

Alright, but the law of averages probably tells us we’re due for an uneventful finish, right?

After Notre Dame senior Casey Murdock hit a half-court shot during College GameDay, host Rece Davis ended the show saying, “What kind of omen could this be for tonight?”

Sure, but should we really expect something more dramatic than an $18,000 heave?

A couple hours before tipoff, a few of us got into a conversation in the office about the crazy ending to the 2005 Illinois – Arizona game, where the Illini rallied from a 15-point deficit with four minutes to play.

Ok, but even as I watched the highlights on YouTube, the thought didn’t cross my mind. There was no way the Irish and Cardinals could have a wilder finish, even if Jay Bilas was in the building, like he was eight years ago at Allstate Arena.

Along with many others in the sellout Purcell Pavilion crowd, I was just hoping for a Notre Dame victory. I didn’t care how it was delivered.

For much of the evening, there was nothing too memorable about the hard-fought battle. It looked like a typical BIG EAST game.

With just under seven minutes to play and the outcome still hanging in the balance, our hopes for an upset took a major blow, when Jack Cooley fouled out on what appeared to be a very questionable call.

Notre Dame stuck around, and trailed by just four with 2:30 to play, but without their leading scorer on the floor, the game began to slip away from the Irish, and disappointed fans started heading for the exits.

That was, at least, until Jerian Grant channeled a bit of Reggie Miller magic. While it wasn’t quite Miller’s famous scoring spree against the Knicks in the ’95 playoffs, Grant’s performance in the final minute of regulation was absolutely spectacular – one of the most amazing feats I think any of us will ever witness on a basketball court.

Having not made a field goal all night, Grant hit three three-pointers, and converted a three-point play, scoring 12 points over the final 45 seconds of regulation, and turning a 56-48 deficit into a game knotted at 60.

Notre Dame and Louisville, headed back to overtime. Typical.

Somehow, that was just the beginning.

Eighty-five points and five overtimes later, the #25 Irish celebrated an improbable 104-101 win over the #11 Cardinals in the longest game in BIG EAST regular season history.

We’ll have more to come on the special night in South Bend, but for now, here are Fighting Irish Digital Media’s highlights, as well as the post-game coverage from ESPN.

About In The Paint

Welcome to In The Paint, the official blog providing in-depth and exclusive access to the Notre Dame basketball programs. With features, videos, photos, commentaries and news from inside the Purcell Pavilion, we are committed to bringing you coverage of the Fighting Irish unlike any you can find elsewhere.

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