The officials called the game unevenly with most of the questionable ones going to Notre Dame early and often. That served to fire up the fan base. And it didn’t keep Louisville from shooting 66.7% in the opening half. They were even 57.1% from the three point arc, a rare feat this season. The defense held the Fighting Irish to 37.5 % from the field and 30% from the arc. That dug a hole they couldn’t get out of and they went into the locker room with the Cards leading 37-27.
In the second half it got worse for Notre Dame. At one time they went down by 19 points while the Cards decided to keep their foot on the gas, unlike the last game when the Cards let up in the second half and let the Irish back into it. Dieng kept up his play and finished with another double-double: 20 points, 11 rebounds 5 blocks and 3 steals.
Siva poured in 13 points and 5 assists and ran the offense like a masterful floor general. He distributed the ball well and kept all heads in the game, including Russ Smith. Smith didn’t have his best offensive game as a Cardinal, only scoring 5 points. There was no quit in Smith, though, and he maintained his defensive pressure. Wayne Blackshear and Kevin Ware had 8 points each in limited minutes.
After the game, the team was presented with the Big East Championship trophy signifying the fact that they share the title with Georgetown. The three seniors spoke to the still packed KFC Yum! Center after the game and the fans poured on the appreciation.
The Cards next play in Madison Square Garden in the Big East tournament. As the number 2 seed, they play on Thursday against the winner of the St. John’s-Villanova match up.
Photos: Louisville.com/Tim Girton