CRAWFORD | Three quick takeaways from Louisville's 71-59 loss to - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Three quick takeaways from Louisville's 71-59 loss to Notre Dame

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Notre Dame, ranked No. 12 in the nation, had eight days to prepare for the University of Louisville after a five-point home loss at Syracuse.

The Irish and coach Mike Brey made the most of it. They used a half-court trap, something they've not shown all season, to take an 11-point halftime lead, then weathered a long scoring drought in the second to pull away for a 71-59 win over the No. 16 Cardinals in the KFC Yum! Center.

A crowd of 21,024 braved horrible road conditions hoping to see the Cardinals add to their two-game winning streak after a pair of road wins last week.

U of L scored the game's first six points, but Notre Dame picked the Cardinals apart defensively. And a Notre Dame freshman -- Bonzi Colson -- went 7 of 7 from the field and finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds. Demetrius Jackson led Notre Dame with 21 points. 

Perhaps most disturbing — this team mailed in the final two minutes, missing easy shots and losing focus — something you don't like seeing, even if you're down double digits. U of L missed its last five shots. Notre Dame made its last 7. Ballgame.

A few quick thoughts:

1. CARDS COULDN'T STOP THEM — OR CONTAIN THEM. Time and again, Notre Dame beat U of L's guards off the dribbles and got in the lane for layups, or were fouled by U of L's centers. The Cards haven't yet perfected the practice of staying in front of ball handlers, which would allow their post players to block shots in a secondary defensive position. That's why Notre Dame wound up shooting 53.5 percent from the field — and 16 of 20 from the free-throw line.

2. MONTREZL HARRELL — PLAYING THROUGH INJURY. Harrell injured his left leg early in the second half. He came to the sideline shortly after and waved off trainer Fred Hina as Pitino talked during the timeout. Hina then examined the knee as Pitino talked, bending and straightening Harrell's left leg. Harrell was clearly impaired for the rest of the game. But it did not affect his bottom line. He finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds, and went 8 of 12 from the field. He shot just 7 of 12 from the line, but you can't question his heart or effort.

3. ROZIER WAS OFF. Terry Rozier is capable of carrying this team at times. He tried to carry it too much in the second half. Three times in a row he broke the offense to take challenge shots after the Cardinals pulled even with Notre Dame, and that's all it takes for the Irish to hit the gas. When the Cards ran their offense to the end, they scored. When they didn't, they had trouble.

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