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Notre Dame completes first season sweep of Louisville, 63-57

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It was fun for a couple minutes or so.

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since 1990-91, the Louisville men’s basketball team has lost six consecutive games.

A furious second half rally wasn’t enough to overcome a listless opening 20 minutes, as the Cardinals fell at Notre Dame, 63-57, Wednesday night. The loss marked the first time a U of L team has ever lost multiple games to the Fighting Irish in a single season.

The loss spoiled yet another fantastic effort from the resurgent Jae’Lyn Withers, who led Louisville with a career-high 20 points. El Ellis (13) and Dre Davis (10) joined Withers as double figure scorers for U of L.

After shooting a scorching 15-for-23 from beyond the arc inside the KFC Yum Center 18 days ago, Notre Dame was just 5-of-20 for three on Wednesday night. Fortunately, Louisville was a far more woeful 5-for-30 from deep, a stat which played the biggest part in allowing the Irish to move into first place alone atop the ACC standings.

The recap here is fairly straightforward. The team played maybe the most uninspired half of basketball I’ve seen from a Cardinal squad since Denny’s last year, then got fired up by the play of Withers and JJ Traynor (JJ Traynor!), and then had no idea what to do after getting all the way to the top of the hill and taking the lead.

This isn’t a new thing. When things get tight and this team starts to feel one potentially slipping away, everyone panics. Tonight it was Dre Davis taking back-to-back ill-advised three-pointers and everyone else trying to do way too much on subsequent possessions. It’s been something similar in most close games going all the way back to game two of the season against Furman.

I applaud the fight in the second half, but at the end of the day, this team is what it is.

Back at it on Saturday.