Looks like the luck of the Irish has run out.
Considered one of the hottest teams of the Big East coming into today’s first round NCAA action, the No. 6-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish (23-12) fell in a heartbreaking shocker, 51-50, to the No.11 seeded Old Dominion Monarchs (27-8) in New Orleans.
The CAA-league champion Monarchs had trouble against the nation’s fifth most effectient offense in Notre Dame. The Irish controlled the game, leading 30-22 in the second half, paced by the play of Ben Hanborough (17 points, 6 rebounds, 7-13 FG) and Carleton Scott (14 points, 10 rebounds).
Old Dominion responded by changing their defensive strategy from a zone to man-to-man in the second half, preventing Notre Dame from having their way inside and getting to the charity stripe, where they shot a paltry 2 of 3.
The Irish then had to rely on three point shooting, unable to get the ball inside. Hitting only 6/26 treys, the Irish fell behind Old Dominion, who went on a 9-0 run late in the second half.
The Monarchs’ Frank Hassell's (15 points, 9 rebounds) three-point play for Old Dominion with 5:51 remaining tied it at 43. Darius James traded 3-pointers with Scott and Gerald Lee (9 points) giving the Monarchs the lead with a shot from the perimeter. Lee made a free throw to make it 49-46 with 56.2 seconds left after the Harangody inside miss.
Notre Dame’s Tory Jackson missed a potential tying 3, but James missed the front end of a one-and-one from the foul line for Old Dominion. Harangody finally scored his first points of the game with 12.6 seconds left to make it 49-48, but Carter made both free throws with 9.6 seconds remaining.
The Irish had a chance to tie the score with a last-second Scott three-point attempt that barely missed the mark. Notre Dame’s big man, Harangody, fell short, scoring only four points on 2 of 9 shooting. He was well off his average of 22 points per game.
Harangody was quoted after the game as saying "When you don't hit a shot early and you're coming off the bench, it's just very hard to get in a rhythm. I tried to let it come to me, and it just didn't come today. Obviously this is not the way I wanted to go out."
Old Dominion continue their Cinderella run against the third-seeded Baylor Bears (25-7) in the second round on Saturday in New Orleans.