Louisville, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - Demetrius Jackson led four Notre Dame players in double figures with 21 points to help the No. 12 Fighting Irish earn a tough 71-59 road win at No. 16 Louisville on Wednesday.
"I'm really proud of my team to come in this atmosphere and beat an NCAA tournament team," said Notre Dame coach Mike Brey.
Bonzie Colson scored nine of his 17 points in the final 10 minutes to help Notre Dame (25-5, 13-4 ACC) hold off a second-half comeback attempt from Louisville.
The Fighting Irish also got 12 points and seven assists from Jerian Grant and 10 points from Steve Vasturia.
Louisville (23-7, 11-6) received a game-high 23 points and 12 rebounds from Montrezl Harrell. Terry Rozier and Wayne Blackshear each added 11 points.
After an impressive first 20 minutes, Notre Dame missed its first nine shots of the second half. At the other end, Louisville hit five in a row to quickly erase its halftime deficit.
A 16-4 Cardinals run, capped by Harrell's jumper, gave Louisville its first lead since the opening minutes of the game.
The Fighting Irish finally hit from the floor at the other end on Colson's putback, and Louisville would not lead again. Notre Dame hit nine of its final 10 shots from the field while the Cardinals missed their last five.
"We cannot play defense like that and expect to win," said Louisville coach Rick Pitino. "We knew going in that this was going to be a very difficult game for us."
Down the stretch, Louisville cut Notre Dame's lead to four points several times, but the Fighting Irish always had an answer at the other end. At 4:38, Vasturia's three-point play extended Notre Dame's edge to 59-52, and the Cardinals only hit two more shots the rest of the way.
Notre Dame entered the game second in the nation with a 50.8 field goal percentage while Louisville brought one of the country's stingiest defenses.
After falling behind 6-0, the Fighting Irish heated up and went on a 10-0 run. Grant hit a long 3 and Zach Auguste completed an alley-oop from Jackson to close the run.
The rest of the half was played to the liking of Notre Dame, and it went into the break with a 42-31 lead on 58.3 percent shooting. Grant's fadeaway at the buzzer handed the Cardinals their worst first half of the season.
It was the first meeting in the ACC between the former Big East rivals ... Notre Dame entered 1-17 in its previous 18 games in the state of Kentucky ... The Fighting Irish are only the second team to shoot over 50 percent against Louisville this season ... The Cardinals reserves scored just two points ... Each team finishes the regular season at home on Saturday with Louisville hosting No. 2 Virginia and Notre Dame taking on Clemson.