Published November 17, 2012
NEW YORK – No. 20 Notre Dame just couldn't score in the final minutes of regulation and overtime and the Fighting Irish lost 79-70 to Saint Joseph's on Friday night in the semifinals of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Barclays Center.
"What an unbelievable November game," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "We're disappointed because we were up eight but they got second shots but what hurt us when we had control is that we had some open looks but couldn't hit them. I'm disappointed with our effort against their frontline which is a very good one."
The Irish led 66-58 with 4 minutes to play on a 3-pointer by Eric Atkins.
That was it for regulation as the Hawks closed with an 8-0 run to force the overtime.
The extra 5 minutes turned into more of the same as the Hawks scored the first five points and went on to outscore the Irish 13-4 in the extra session.
"We had good looks but we just couldn't knock them down in a timely manner at the end of the game," said Atkins who came to the postgame news conference with ice bags on the back of each leg because of cramps. "They did a great job defending us the whole game."
Langston Galloway, despite losing a tooth when he dived on the court with 5 minutes left in regulation, had four points in the Hawks' closing spurt including the drive that tied the game at 66 with 1:39 left.
Jerian Grant missed a drive for Notre Dame, Kanacevic missed a 3 for the Hawks and C.J. Aikens got the offensive rebound but missed a shot as he was falling.
Atkins stood dribbling alone with 19 seconds left as Notre Dame held for the last shot. Atkins drove but missed the shot and Jack Cooley couldn't really get control of the rebound.
Atkins fell to the court screaming in pain with cramps in both legs. He was attended to by trainers and returned to the game with 2:30 left in the overtime.
Ronald Roberts had 21 points and 16 rebounds for the Hawks and he scored the first seven points of the overtime.
"We had a couple of wild plays but we passed those tests and were down six and to come back against that veteran group and the way they were shooting it, I am really happy we have advanced our game," Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli said. "We will have to be better tomorrow than we were tonight."
The Hawks (2-0) will play Florida State in Saturday night's championship game. The Seminoles (3-0) beat BYU 88-70.
Jack Cooley had 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Fighting Irish (2-1).
Chris Wilson had 19 points for the Hawks while Halil Kanacevic had 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
The Hawks are going to play the three big men together.
"We're going this way," Martelli said. "We'll work the kinks out as we go with the big guys because they are three of our best players."
Kanacevic said the coaches have been "talking about the three of us playing since the end of the last game of last season. We're learning and we're developing some chemistry."
Scott Martin had 13 points for Notre Dame while Atkins had 12 points and 10 assists.
Langston explained how he lost a tooth.
"I dove on the floor and someone jumped on top of me and my face went into the floor," Galloway said. "I got the tooth and they tried putting it back but it hurt too much so they stopped. Hey we won."
This was the last game of a three-game suspension for senior guard Carl Jones, who led the Hawks in scoring the past two seasons. He was suspended for violation of community standards.