Notre Dame men's basketball: Louisville's shot at upset misses mark
Amazing how an uphill battle all night can flow downhill in a hurry.
Hmmm, now what? Cardinal guard Peyton Siva has been slicing the Irish defense all night. Free pass through the lane. That's gotta be the play, right?
The best laid plans...
“We just wanted to get the last shot,” said Louisville coach Rick Pitino. “Notre Dame switched to a zone and we were supposed to screen the outside of the zone. Peyton Siva went to the wrong side of the floor. He should have gone left, where we had the overload. But, that's OK. We got a shot up and that's what we wanted.”
Yeah, but ... Pitino seemed to jump on a grenade.
Yeah, but ... the shot came from the cheap seats. As the clock ran down, Preston Knowles launch a bomb well beyond the 3-point arc. Terrence Jennings went to beat the buzzer with the tip, but Carleton Scott batted the rebound away.
“(Knowles) almost put it right in my face,” said Notre Dame's Tim Abromaitis. “It was kind of fortunate it bounced off. He's a great shooter.”
Knowles was 3-of-6 from 3-point range before that shot.
“It was kinda crazy at the end of the game,” Scott said. “Jennings almost got the tip-in. I got my hand on it at the last second.”
Credit the confusion to Notre Dame coach Mike Brey.
“We started the possession in man (-to-man defense) and halfway through we switched to zone,” Abromaitis said. “We were definitely shading out on (Knowles). It was a really deep look, but I was still a little nervous when it went up. When Jennings went up for the rebound, I thought he had it until (Scott) made a great play and knocked it away.
“We were just fortunate those opportunities didn't count.”
“We did not talk about (switching defenses) in the timeout,” said Brey. “We talked about what we were going to do on the Siva ball screen. We kinda changed on the fly. We did a great job. That's veteran guys makin' it work. It changed (Louisville's) rhythm a bit and forced a tough shot.”
“The way we communicate, (switching defenses has) become easy for us,” Abromaitis said. “Even in a loud environment we were able to talk, yell, touch each other, set up quickly so we're able to match up with guys, find our spots and guard well.”
Now, for the gutsy shot.
Irish get the overtime tip. Ben Hansbrough moves the ball upcourt. One pass. Scott doesn't hesitate, lets loose with a 3-pointer and finds nothing but net.
“Can't play too tight,” said Scott. “Let it all hang out and go for it.
“It was an open look. We've got five minutes to play. If I miss it, get back on defense. I made it.”
Scott's 3-pointer was the snowball that started the avalanche.
“You get a 3 to start overtime...,” Brey said.
“(Scott) has the green light to take great shots,” Brey said. “In the first half, our shot selection and poor movement on offense were like turnovers. We took some bad shots, quick shots. We were caught up in the atmosphere. They were run-outs for Louisville every time.
“Our second half, we were more who I've seen us be offensively. Patient, taking a great shot. Carleton has a clean look up there, we want him to take it.”
Fourteen points and four minutes later, the game was over.
With the avalanche came a post-game snow job by Pitino.
<li> First, the second half problems were due to a “new offense, and we tried to go too much one-on-one.”
<li> Then, it was, “I think we were fatigued a little bit.”
<li> Then, it was, “Steve Van Treese was sick and Mike Marra had a bad back.”
Whatever. Boil it all down to the basics. Two shots.
Or composure. Chalk this one up to veterans who refused to panic.
Staff writer Al Lesar: email@example.com 574-235-6318