Every game the University of Louisville basketball team wins these days is bigger than the last. Still, a 90-85 stretch drive conference win over Notre Dame, a game in which the Cards never trailed, has to rank as one the best regular season wins in the last couple of decades.
Nobody expected the double-digit leads to last in this game, too much at stake. No relaxing for the Cards, knowing that a Notre Dame resurgence was inevitable, the nature of the game. The surge finally came with 3:45 to go with Rob Kurz hitting the first of seven Notre Dame three pointers, including three of them by Luke Harangody.
Harangody had no business taking any of those three-point shots. But he was playing inspired basketball, hitting 16 of 28 and notching 40 points. Must be thinking the Gipper would be pleased. Sorry, man, that doesn’t work in the Ville. Go back to doing what you do best. One Jeremy Hazell a season is enough.
Harangody may have scored 40 points but David Padgett was the player the Irish fans, Las Vegas oddsmakers and second-guessers will remember most, hitting those vintage hook shots left handed, right handed, a jump shot here and there, plus a backboard rattling dunk for good measure, 26 points a season high.
Alas, Kyle McAlarney missed the David Padgett show. With Jerry Smith and Andre McGee keeping McAlarney corraled all night long, Padgett was a blur, wouldn’t recognize the guy, everything a blur for McAlarney. Hitting only one of seven three-point attempts in the game, McAlarney was probably missing the nutty leprecon mascot as well.
Terrence Williams, playing with the flu, hoping it doesn’t spread to his teammates, sharing only the ball, making the most spectacular dunk of the night, motivating his teammates, motivating. Edgar Sosa hitting important foul shots. Earl Clark stunning the crowd with his bone-crushing rush to the basket, hitting five of six shots.
No celebrating, no rushing the floor, too much remaining to be done. Every game coming up much more important.