Mike Brey wore his button down again, swag-alicious 3's went in late and at the end of the night, chants of "Let's Go Irish!" filled the emptying Wells Fargo Arena as the newly ranked #23 Notre Dame mounted a comeback victory of epic proportions to win their 8th game in a row.
It's late, so let's jump right to the recap of the 74-70 Irish overtime victory below.... after the... jump
A few minutes into the first half it was evident that Notre Dame was being outworked on both ends of the court, lacking crisp movement on offense and not rotating fast enough on defense. The Irish were particularly overwhelmed on the boards as the undermanned Villanova squad came out of the gates determined to put in the effort to upset their newly ranked opponent.
Villanova was without two of their starters, including their best player Maalik Wayns for the second straight game and while freshman forward JayVaughn Pinkston and guard Dominic Cheek paced Jay Wright's squad with 24 and 19 each, their late game execution clearly showed that they were shorthanded and inexperienced as in the end they were overwhelmed visiting's teams late, calculated and deliberate comeback effort.
Fearless freshman Pat Connaughton hit 7 three pointers throughout the night including 2 in overtime that sealed the win. Fellow freshman Jerian Grant struggled for the first 35 minutes of the game, until he realized the game was winnable. Then he decided to get his swag on and hit a three late to give the Irish their first lead of the second half and another in overtime to put the Irish up 68-65.
And of course, Jack Cooley continued on his monstrous ways with 18 points, 13 rebounds and countless changed shots at the rim. To put this in perspective (and for a more in-depth analysis - check out CW's eye-opening analytics post here), in his last four games Cooley is averaging 20.8 points and 14.3 rebounds on 71.7% shooting from the field. WOW.
Notre Dame was down by as much as 20 points in this game falling 39-19 with under 2 minutes left to play in the first half. I was ready to accept the loss putting into perspective how great this 7 game win streak was and how this could be a teaching point and a rest stop in the long run. Mike Brey would have none of that crap and Notre Dame now stands 11-3 in the Big East with 4 games (3 of them very winnable) remaining in the schedule. You may consider me amazed one more time. But really, I shouldn't be anymore right? right.
I'm not the only one enjoying this more than the football season am I?
The Irish play host to West Virginia on Wednesday night as Bob Huggins' squad will look to avenge their home loss from two weeks ago.