Louisville beats Notre Dame, grabs share of Big East title
The Associated Press March 9, 2013 8:54PM
Notre Dame's Jerian Grant, left, attempts a shot over the defense of Louisville's Gorgui Dieng during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday March 9, 2013, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Updated: April 11, 2013 7:15AM
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Gorgui Dieng had 20 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks to help No. 8 Louisville earn a share of the Big East Conference title with a 73-57 victory over No. 24 Notre Dame on Saturday.
Peyton Siva added 13 points and five assists in his final home game for the Cardinals (26-5, 14-4 Big East), who finished the regular season tied for first place with Georgetown and Marquette. Louisville receives a bye into Thursday’s quarterfinals at the Big East tournament, where coach Rick Pitino’s team will defend its 2012 championship.
When these teams met a month ago at Notre Dame, they played five overtimes before the Irish won 104-101 in the longest regular-season game in Big East history. In fact, five of the last six and six of the past eight matchups between the schools went to overtime before Louisville took charge on Saturday.
Dieng and Siva were honored before the game as part of Louisville’s senior day festivities. Dieng, a junior center from Senegal, is expected to enter the NBA draft after the season.
Garrick Sherman led Notre Dame (23-8, 11-7) with 14 points. The Irish will next play Wednesday in the conference tournament at Madison Square Garden.
Louisville shot 67 percent (16 of 24) for its best first half of the season. But Notre Dame held the Cardinals without a field goal for nearly six minutes early in the second half to cut the lead to 45-40 on Pat Connaughton’s 3-pointer with 12:42 left.
That was as close as the Irish got. Dieng’s turnaround jumper on the baseline with 10:33 left gave Louisville a 49-41 lead and started a 10-2 run.
Siva’s third 3 of the game with 2:26 left and alley-oop layup on the next possession sealed the win.
Louisville never trailed and led by as many as six throughout most of the first half before Siva helped break the game open.
His two 3-pointers, with an alley-oop assist to Chane Behanan in between, gave the Cardinals a 30-21 lead at the 6:14 mark.
Kevin Ware followed with a steal and layup that put Louisville up by 11, its largest advantage of the half. Siva’s floater in the lane with 51 seconds to go gave the Cardinals their 37-27 lead at the break.
Notre Dame had held three of its previous four opponents under 50 points, but Louisville’s strong first half ended any chance of repeating that defensive effort.
Irish guard Jerian Grant, whose 12-point flurry in the final 45 seconds of regulation sent the first matchup to overtime, was held to eight points after scoring 21 in each of his last two games.
Louisville earned its second Big East regular-season title since joining the conference in 2005. The Cardinals also won in 2008-09.