By Dalton Ray–
Behind big second half performances from junior Quentin Snider and sophomore Donovan Mitchell, eighth-ranked men’s basketball (24-7, 12-6) outlasted No. 19 Notre Dame (23-8, 12-6) 71-64 in a back-and-forth ACC battle. Senior Mangok Mathiang scored a career-high 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
“Quentin Snider, Deng Adel and Donovan Mitchell, with the game on the line, came up big for us offensively,” coach Rick Pitino said. “It was excellent offense and defense with the game on the line.”
A low shooting percentage game to start, both teams combined to shoot 6-of-23 in the opening nine minutes. Back-to-back baskets from Mathiang cut the Notre Dame lead to one midway through the first half.
Rotation confusion by Louisville allowed the Irish to knock down multiple open shots in the first 12 minutes of the game.
Mitchell hit back-to-back threes to give Louisville a 22-20 lead with three minutes to play in the second half.
Like in the first match-up, Notre Dame’s Matt Farrell and Bonzie Colson carried the Irish with nine points apiece in the first half. For Louisville, Mathiang led the way with 12 points and five rebounds.
To open the second half, Notre Dame started on an 8-2 run, taking a 36-32 lead.
Three straight 3-pointers from Mitchell and Snider gave Louisville a 43-42 lead with 12 minutes to play.
With a six minutes to play, Mitchell grabbed a defensive rebound and sent the outlet pass to sophomore Deng Adel. Adel then found Mitchell to complete a monstrous alley-oop keeping momentum in Louisville’s favor.
On consecutive possessions, Snider drained 3-pointers in rhythm off the screen to give Louisville a 61-53 lead.
Notre Dame crept back into the game and the put-back slam from Martians Geben brought the Irish with three with under two minutes remaining.
Up by two with 50 seconds remaining, Adel sunk a contested 3-pointer to to take the life out of the Irish.
After the game, Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said they switched their defense to force the jump shot.
“I figured let’s go zone and I want somebody to hit a jump shot to beat us instead of a tip dunk or drive,” Brey said. “He hit it, so you take your hat off to (Adel).”
In his ninth 20-point game of the year, Mitchell tallied 13 of his 20 points in the second half. Snider recorded 15 of his 17 points in the final 20 minutes while hitting 4-of-5 threes and dished out six assists.
Louisville finishes the regular season with a 15-1 home record and receives a double-bye in the ACC tournament with the victory.
Photos by Laurel Slaughter / The Louisville Cardinals