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Louisville Soars Past Notre Dame, 75-61

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A strong second half performance by Louisville (19-11, 10-7) allowed the Cardinals to pull away from Notre Dame (13-16, 3-13) for a 75-61 victory at home.

Sunday marked the fifth-straight loss for the Irish and pushed the team one step closer to a sub-.500 record for the season.

Blue & Gold Illustrated recaps the contest half-by-half.

FIRST HALF

Notre Dame came out of the gates slow from the field hitting just 1-of-6 attempts to start the game, which allowed Louisville to build an early lead.

Cardinals guard Christen Cunningham got the scoring started for both teams, and the Irish followed with a jumper via forward John Mooney.

But, a dunk from big man Malik Williams and a three-pointer from forward Jordan Nwora gave Chris Mack’s group a 7-2 lead at the under-16 media timeout (15:58).

A jumper from forward Steven Enoch pushed the Cardinals lead to 9-2 before Mooney finally ended the 3:36 scoring drought for the Irish. A three-pointer from guard Prentiss Hubb followed shortly after to cut the score to 9-7, but Enoch got an easy look inside to put his team back up two possessions.

Going into the under-12 media timeout (11:37), Louisville led 11-7, but the Cardinals had not score a point in 2:20 to that point and the Irish had not found a point in 3:09.

Coming out the break, Louisville got two quick buckets from a tip in via Williams and a tough layup from guard Ryan McMahon to force a timeout from Mike Brey with the Irish down 15-7 with 10:39 remaining in the opening half.

The timeout seemed to spark the Irish a bit offensively with the team making five of their next seven shots to stay within one possession.

Hubb got the run rolling with a layup and DJ Harvey followed shortly after to put the Irish down 15-11. The two teams traded buckets over the next couple minutes with Hubb hitting a triple and then Nwora and King for Louisville and TJ Gibbs for the Irish getting paint buckets.

Hubb would find Mooney at the top of the key and the junior drove to the bucket for a big dunk to force a Louisville timeout with 6:39 left and the team’s lead at 21-18.

Louisville got back on track with two-straight buckets in the paint to push the team’s lead to 25-18 before Hubb became the first player in the game to reach double-digits in points with a layup. The Cardinals led 25-20 at the under-4 media timeout (3:57).

Cunningham and McMahon combined for a 4-0 run to make it 29-22 Louisville with 2:13 left. A layup from Mooney with 1:48 remaining was the final bucket for either team giving the Cardinals a 29-24 lead at the break.

Mooney and Hubb each had 10 points to lead the Irish. Mooney also added nine rebounds. Notre Dame finished 11-of-35 (31.4 percent) from the floor and 2-of-9 (22.2 percent) behind the arc.

Even though Louisville was 1-of-12 from the three-point line, the Cardinals still shot 45.2 percent for the half (14-of-31). A big part of that was the team had 24 points in the paint.

SECOND HALF

It was another strong start for the Cardinals to open the second half with a 8-3 run to build an early 37-27 lead behind four points from Nwora and Williams each.

Gibbs would sandwich another Louisville bucket with a pair of three-pointers to cut into the deficit a bit and put the Irish down 39-33 heading into the under-16 media timeout (15:49).

Both teams began picking it up over the next four minutes with both teams going 4-of-7 from the floor with the Cardinals leading 52-44 (11:23). During the stretch, Mooney recorded his 18th double-double of the season at 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Up to that point, the Irish were 2-of-7 from the line in the half and Louisville had 12 second-chance points for the difference in the contest.

Louisville eventually got the lead to 60-46 following a jumper from wing VJ King. After the teams traded buckets, the Irish went on a quick 5-0 run behind a layup from guard Dane Goodwin and three-pointer via Hubb to get back within double-digits at 62-53 with eight minutes to play.

But, the Cardinals answered with a 5-0 run over their own to quickly go up 14 points at 67-53 with under seven minutes to play.

That run grew to 9-0 after four-straight free throws from Louisville to give the team their biggest lead at 71-53 with 5:14 left. A three-pointer from Nate Laszewski stopped the run almost two minutes later.

Louisville eventually held on for a 75-61 win over the Irish shooting 50 percent in the second half to fend off Notre Dame.

Mooney finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Irish, while Hubb added 16 points and six assists. Gibbs was the lone other double-digit scorer for Brey and company at 11 points.

Notre Dame shot 38.7 percent (24-of-62) from the floor after hitting nearly 50 percent of their attempts in the second half. The Irish, however, hit just 4-of-14 (28.6 percent) from the free throw line and allowed 18 second-chance points to just four of their own.

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