Lions feeling lucky
Irish fall short vs. Old Dominion
NEW ORLEANS — As Carleton Scott’s 3-pointer sailed toward the hoop and rattled around the rim, Old Dominion’s Keyon Carter was already bracing for the possibility of a tie game.
Then the shot popped out, giving the Monarchs the NCAA Tournament’s first upset.
“I said, ‘Here we go again.’ Those guys made a lot of clutch threes,’’ Carter said. “I was kind of thinking overtime, but gratefully, it rimmed out.’’
Scott’s 3-pointer didn’t fall, and Luke Harangody’s putback wasn’t enough for sixth-seeded Notre Dame yesterday. Old Dominion held on for a 51-50 victory in the first round of the South Regional, its first NCAA Tournament win since beating Villanova in triple overtime in 1995.
“I think it reflects the magic of March, the way the two teams battled,’’ Old Dominion coach Blaine Taylor said. “One of the officials turns to me at the two-minute mark and said, ‘It’s been a heck of a game,’ and I really think it was.’’
Old Dominion will try for another upset in the second round against third-seeded Baylor.
In a game that was as slow-paced as advertised, Notre Dame (23-12) led, 30-22, early in the second half before the Monarchs (27-8) used a 9-0 run to take the lead.
It was close the rest of the way.
Frank Hassell’s 3-point play for Old Dominion with 5:51 remaining tied it at 43, and neither team scored for the next three minutes. Old Dominion’s Darius James traded 3-pointers with Scott, and Gerald Lee put the Monarchs ahead with a shot from the perimeter. After Harangody missed inside, Lee made a free throw to make it 49-46 with 56.2 seconds left.
Tory Jackson missed a potential tying three, 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.
Scott was well defended on Notre Dame’s final possession, but he was able to get a shot off that didn’t miss by much. Taylor said he wasn’t about to have his team foul to prevent the chance at a tying 3-pointer.
“I guess I’m kind of old school. I think we can guard people and stop them,’’ Taylor said. “I discussed it with our players and our coaches. I said, ‘Hey, what do you all think?’ The kids are kind of like me. We’re kind of stubborn and hard-headed.’’
Scott missed, and Harangody’s putback left Notre Dame a point short.
“I was trying to draw a foul,’’ Harangody said. “There was only one second left.’’
After the buzzer sounded, the Old Dominion fans began chanting “C-A-A’’ — a reference to the Colonial Athletic Association, the Monarchs’ league. Old Dominion wasn’t the least bit intimidated by its Big East opponent, having already beaten Georgetown earlier this season.
“We knew it was going to be a dogfight,’’ said Scott, who finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Irish.
Notre Dame entered the game having won six of its last seven.