Irish prevail in 5-OT thriller
Fans in South Bend, Ind., were treated to plenty of free basketball Saturday night (and Sunday morning) when No. 25 Notre Dame outlasted No. 11 Louisville 104-101 in five overtimes.
Irish guard Jerian Grant led the Irish with 19 points, and guard Eric Atkins played an exhausting 60 minutes while chipping in 14 points and five boards. Louisville had a 30-point scoring effort from forward Chane Behanan and 22 points from Luke Hancock off the bench.
The game was the longest in Big East regular-season history. Six of the last eight meetings between the two teams have gone into overtime. Louisville guard Russ Smith had the last shots in both the fourth and fifth overtime periods but misfired on both attempts.
Providence upsets Cincinnati
Despite Providence’s poor overall Big East performances over the last few years, the Friars always seem to surprise a ranked team here and there.
Providence beat No. 17 Cincinnati at home last Wednesday 54-50 behind Kadeem Batts’ 25 points. Batts’ effort made up for the league’s leading scorer’s so-so game; Bryce Cotton had a scoreless first half and finished with 11 points, far below his average of 21.4.
With the Friars ahead 52-50 with 13 seconds left, Batts missed a pair of free throws, and the Bearcats rebounded for a chance to tie or win. Sean Kilpatrick dribbled the ball off his foot with two seconds to go, resulting in a backcourt violation.
The past three years have been quite miserable for Providence in the Big East. Entering the Cincinnati game, the Friars were 3-7 in league play, and the team had finished 4-14 in each of the last three seasons. What is surprising, however, is that of those 12 wins, four of them came against top-25 teams.
Game of the Week
St. John’s at No. 11 Louisville, Thursday, 8 p.m.
While fans focus their attention on what’s happening at the top of the Big East standings, they may be missing out on developments in the middle of the pack.
Louisville, coming off a heartbreaking, five-overtime defeat at Notre Dame, will search for redemption at home against the Red Storm. The Cardinals (7-4) sit in sixth place in the Big East, while St. John’s (7-5) is close behind in eighth.
St. John’s, after playing six unranked teams in a row, closes out its schedule playing five of its final seven against top 25 squads. After a sluggish 77-58 loss at Syracuse Sunday, the Red Storm will hope to capitalize on Louisville’s frustration from the Irish game. The matchup between Louisville’s Russ Smith and the Red Storm’s D’Angelo Harrison (both averaging 18.3 points per game) will be worth the watch alone.
Player of the Week
G Junior Cadougan, Senior, Marquette
Cadougan is not known for his scoring, but the senior point guard put together consecutive double digit scoring games this week to help Marquette stay tied for first in the Big East.
Cadougan scored 11 points and dished out five assists in a 70-47 win at South Florida and chipped in 17 points with six assists in an 89-78 victory over DePaul on Saturday.
Entering Monday, Cadougan was averaging 9.0 points and 4.3 assists per game. He has been playing with efficiency, evidenced by his 1.86 assist-to-turnover ratio in conference games. Marquette will need Cadougan to keep up this productive pace, especially with a demanding schedule ahead for the Golden Eagles.