In the longest game in Notre Dame history, the #25 Irish defeated #11 Louisville 104-101 in five overtimes. Notre Dame held the super but inconsistent backcourt of Russ Smith and Peyton Siva to 5 for 25 shooting, including stopping a drive by Smith at the end of a fourth overtime when he could have run down the clock and force a foul.
That miss by Siva gave Notre Dame one last chance, and back-up Garrick Sherman tipped in a shot from three feet over a teammate to prevent the Louisville win. If the game had ended in regulation, it would have marked Sherman’s third straight game without getting on the floor.
Instead, Sherman scored 17 points and grabbed 6 rebounds during the overtimes, and used a big 6-foot-10 frame to muscle to the hoop when jumpers and free throws had long stopped falling for tired legs.
Jarian Grant gave Sherman the chance by scoring 12 points in the final 42 seconds with three contested three-pointers and a traditional three-point play on a drive to the basket and foul.
Eric Atkins scored the last basket of the game with 1:20 left in the fifth overtime, driving through tired legs for a layup to make it 102-100.
From that point on, the Irish made just 2 of 6 free throws and the Cardinals hit 1 of 4, and Smith’s final shot of the game missed from long range with five seconds to play.
The game was one of the rare occasions in which the road team is favored in a match-up of ranked teams. While the human polls ranked both teams, the computers had Louisville still at No. 3 in the country to a No. 55 calculation for Notre Dame.
Louisville had looked like the Number 1 team in the country with the Number 1 backcourt in Peyton Siva and Russ Smith, until they stumbled. But they came into Notre Dame coming off two impressive blowouts with a 19-point win vs. a ranked Marquette team and then a 20-point road win at Rutgers.
Notre Dame came into the game off a miserable 8-game stretch during which they won four games and looked very weak in the other four – with single digit wins against two teams at the bottom of the Big East (DePaul and South Florida) and shaky home wins against Rutgers and Villanova.
However, when Notre Dame clamped down on Siva and Smith, it was apparent this would be a battle to the end.