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Louisville Knocks Off Notre Dame, Moves On To Big East Tournament Finals vs. Syracuse

One more...

Score: No. 4 Louisville 69 No. 24 Notre Dame 57

Stars: Louisville: Peyton Siva 12 Pts, 3 Reb, 6 Ast, 7 Stl. Russ Smith 20 Pts, 3 Reb, 6 Ast. Notre Dame: Jerian Grant 14 Pts, 3 Reb, 5 Ast.

Story: It was the last time that Notre Dame and Louisville would be guaranteed to play each other while both were in the Big East, and the game embraced some true Big East qualities. 

The first half was a game of back-and-forth, each team matching the other's buckets. Notre Dame created the pace and enforced it, causing the Louisville offense trouble. After Chane Behanan failed to finish a few consecutive baskets, he was replaced by freshman Montrezl Harrell. Harrell managed little more, getting two quick fouls and not contributing much with them. Pitino finally placed Stephan Van Treese in the 4 spot - a position which the senior center played tonight with strength and aggression. SVT would stay there for a majority of the second half, as well. In the box score, he was even listed as a forward.

The Fighting Irish were down by seven at the half, but after a very slow start, facing Louisville's defense and having Eric Atkins on the bench for a period of time, seven seemed fewer than what the deficit should have been.

It remained a close game in the beginning of the second half. Even when the Cards tried to break away, and probably should have broken away, they couldn't seem to get past small mistakes. Between a string of frustration fouls and ND threes that were difficult to contest, Louisville couldn't really create the gap needed. Notre Dame, playing in true Big East fashion, was getting to the stripe more than U of L could afford.

Then it became the Russ, Peyton and Luke show. Between Russ breaking the record for most single-season free throws made all season, Peyton breaking the record for all-time steals, and Luke hitting 3-of-3 from three, they created a breathable lead.

Notre Dame moves onto the ACC; Louisville moves onto the Big East finals against Syracuse tomorrow at 8:30.