Notre Dame vs Villanova

No. 23 Notre Dame overcomes 20-point deficit to beat Villanova

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PHILADELPHIA -- Maybe Notre Dame should be called the Fight-Lin Irish.

No one predicted this run off success over the last month from Notre Dame -- or this stunning comeback. Down 20 on the road at Villanova, the Irish buried 3 after 3 to pull off perhaps their most astounding victory yet.

"Jeremy Lin and the Irish," coach Mike Brey said. "Believe it."

Pat Connaughton scored 21 points, Jack Cooley had 18 points and 13 rebounds, and No. 23 Notre Dame erased a 20-point deficit in a 74-70 overtime victory over Villanova on Saturday night.

Eric Atkins scored 17 points to help the Irish (19-8, 11-3 Big East) win their eighth straight game. They made nine of their 12 3-pointers after halftime to send Villanova to its fifth loss in six games.

"It's a great win for a group that really believes in itself," Brey said.

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Notre Dame caught fire even after losing star Tim Abromaitis for the season to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. The Irish suffered a 20-point loss to Gonzaga in November as part of a stretch of four losses in five games.

Brey joked after that rough patch that he thought Notre Dame would be "having a parade" if they pulled of a NIT bid.

Look at the Irish now.

Of course, the rally was aided by a collapse from one of the worst teams in the Big East.

The Wildcats (11-15, 4-10) got a second chance after squandering the massive lead on Maurice Sutton's tying bucket late in regulation. They didn't have enough in OT.

Jerian Grant put the Irish ahead 68-65 on a 3-pointer with 1:28 left and Connaughton hit his seventh 3 with 45.9 seconds to go for a six-point lead.

The Irish survived 38-percent shooting from the floor.

"It's a confidence thing now," Connaughton said.

JayVaughn Pinkston scored 24 points, Dom Cheek had 19, and Sutton had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Wildcats. Leading scorer Maalik Wayns sat out with a sprained MCL in his left knee and guard James Bell was out with a sprained left ankle.

"I'm proud of the effort," Wildcats coach Jay Wright said. "I think we're getting better defensively. I don't want to be negative. I'm optimistic about this team, about the future of our program."

Down two starters, the Wildcats were at their best in the first half and led 39-19.

Not for long.

The Irish stormed back against a Villanova team that made only five baskets in the second half. The fifth one was a big one. Sutton put back Ty Johnson's miss with 0.9 seconds to tie the game at 60 and send it to overtime.

The Wildcats never should have let it come to the last shot of regulation. They committed turnovers on three straight possessions in the final minutes and Notre Dame pounced.

Villanova's ninth turnover led to an Irish bucket for a 56-51 lead. Wright called a timeout on the next possession but the Wildcats had a shot-clock violation.

Connaughton buried a 3 to make it 56-54. Again the Wildcats turned the ball over, this time on a travel.

Atkins gave them a 57-56 lead on a three-point play before Grant hit a 3 for a sudden four-point lead, and the Notre Dame faithful, silenced all night, burst into a "Let's go Irish!" chant.

The Wildcats went more than seven minutes without a basket until Sutton tied it.

"It happened so fast, I couldn't even tell you what happened," Sutton said.

Connaughton and Pinkston exchanged 3s in OT to make it 65-65, and the Irish still had big buckets left in them.

The Wildcats could have used this kind of first-half play starting two months ago. They scored the first 13 points of a 28-5 run that put them up 20.

Pinkston and Cheek hit consecutive 3s during that run and the Wildcats shot 50 percent from the floor for most of the half. Led by Mouphtaou Yarou, Villanova punished them on the boards, too, outrebounding the Irish 22-8. Yarou finished with 11 rebounds.

Villanova led 39-23 at halftime before the Irish pulled off their own version of Lin-sanity.

"I think they're special. I really do," Brey said.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Jack Cooley (45) contributes with 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Fighting Irish to their eighth straight win. (AP)
Jack Cooley (45) contributes with 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Fighting Irish to their eighth straight win. (AP)
Scoreboard
Notre Dame #23 (19-8) «23371474
Villanova (11-15)39211070
ND:P. Connaughton 21 Pts
ND:J. Cooley 13 Reb
ND:J. Grant 9 Ast
NOVA:J. Pinkston 24 Pts
NOVA:M. Yarou 11 Reb
NOVA:T. Johnson 7 Ast

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PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Notre DameVillanova
ND
Jack Cooley
NOVA
JayVaughn Pinkston
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
181312441
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
E. Atkins, G455-135-715317
S. Martin, G441-94-45446
J. Cooley, F428-112-4131418
J. Grant, G423-151-239310
P. Connaughton, G-F357-150-091021
A. Dragicevich, G100-20-00000
J. Brooks, G41-10-01012
T. Knight, F30-00-01000
M. Broghammer, FDid Not Play
P. Crowley, GDid Not Play
Totals 25-6612-1733201574
 37.9%70.6% 
Villanova Wildcats
J. Pinkston, F457-186-850224
D. Cheek, G445-116-863219
M. Sutton, F-C406-90-0101412
T. Johnson, G403-132-21728
M. Yarou, F-C332-80-011024
M. Kennedy, F171-20-07152
D. Hilliard, G60-21-21101
M. Wayns, GDid Not Play
J. Bell, GDid Not Play
D. Ouano, GDid Not Play
N. McMahon, FDid Not Play
A. Yacoubou, GDid Not Play
Totals 24-6315-2041131870
 38.1%75.0% 
ACC
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
N. Carolina14-433-75
Virginia13-529-83
Miami (Fla.)13-527-89
Louisville12-623-817
Duke11-725-1120
Notre Dame11-724-1231
Va. Tech10-820-1589
Clemson10-817-14131
Pittsburgh9-921-1253
Syracuse9-923-1472
Florida St.8-1020-1482
Georgia Tech8-1021-1569
NC State5-1316-17123
Wake Forest2-1611-20159
Boston College0-187-25250

Big East
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Villanova16-235-54
Xavier14-428-67
Seton Hall12-625-919
Providence10-824-1140
Butler10-822-1156
Creighton9-920-15100
Marquette8-1020-13110
Georgetown7-1115-18106
DePaul3-159-22199
St. Johns1-178-24246
 
Other games
Louisville 90 Final
DEP 82
MU 79 Final
UConn 64
Wich St 91 Final
DAVID 74
UNLV 45 Final
N Mexico 65
Florida St 76 Final
NCST 62
MD 44 Final
Virginia 71
K-State 57 Final
Baylor 56
Missouri 71 Final
Tx A&M 62
SDSU 56 Final
AF 58
Ole Miss 62 Final
Kentucky 77
CLEM 52 Final
NC 74
Florida 98 Final
Arkansas 68
STMA 51 Final
MRST 65
GTOWN 63 Final
PROV 53
GONZ 65 Final
San Fran 66
TXTCH 50 Final
Kansas 83
Ohio St 51 Final
Michigan 56