Louisville dominates Notre Dame in regular-season finale

Gorgui Dieng and Peyton Siva came through with big performances in likely their last home appearances, leading eighth- ranked Louisville to a 73-57 victory over No. 24 Notre Dame in the final regular-season matchup for both teams.

Dieng, a junior who's expected to declare for this year's NBA Draft, racked up 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting along with a game-high 12 rebounds, while the senior Siva delivered 13 points to help Louisville (26-5, 14-4 Big East) to its seventh consecutive triumph since its epic 104-101 loss to the Fighting Irish in South Bend on Feb. 9.

That game took a Big East regular-season record five overtimes to decide, but there was no such drama in the rematch. The Cardinals never trailed at any stage, owned a 10-point lead at halftime and were ahead by double-digits for much of the contest.

"I think we did a very good job of attacking zone and attacking man and working inside and working outside," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "We played really good defense in the first half and the second we did get beat back door a few times but we made some big plays."

The win earned Louisville a share of the Big East regular-season title with Georgetown and also locked the Cardinals into the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Big East Tournament, where it will next take the court in Thursday's quarterfinals against either Villanova or St. John's.

Garrick Sherman hit on 7-of-10 field goal attempts in a 14-point effort for Notre Dame (23-8, 11-7), but the Irish struggled offensively for much of the day and shot just 39.3 percent as a team.

Jerian Grant, who helped spark Notre Dame's comeback in last month's thriller against the Cardinals, went just 2-of-12 from the floor while finishing with eight points.

"You know we kind of ran into a buzz saw today," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey admitted of Louisville. "We expected a great punch and effort from them. Their defense really gave us problems the whole afternoon."

The Irish missed out on a chance to earn a double-bye in next week's Big East Tournament. With the loss, Notre Dame will be seeded sixth in the event and faces either Rutgers or DePaul in Wednesday's second round.

Notre Dame did stay close early on and trailed by just three after an Eric Atkins triple just past the midway mark of the first half made it a 22-19 game. Louisville took over from there, however, putting together a 10-2 run sparked by a pair of Siva treys to build an 11-point advantage with five minutes remaining before intermission.

Louisville went into the break up by a 37-27 count, with Dieng netting nine points and Siva eight to lead the charge.

Notre Dame, which overcame an eight-point deficit with under a minute left in regulation in last month's meeting, made a bid to get back in it via a 9-2 flurry capped by Pat Connaughton's bucket from beyond the arc that cut the margin to 45-40 with 12:40 left to play.

Louisville responded with a 12-3 spurt over the next 6 1/2 minutes, however, to take a comfortable 57-43 lead and was never seriously threatened the rest of the way.

Game Notes

Notre Dame played without forward Cameron Biedscheid, who drew a mandatory one-game suspension for fighting with St. John's Sir'Dominic Porter in Tuesday's 66-40 win over the Red Storm ... Connaughton finished with 13 points for the Irish ... Prior to Saturday's matchup, six of the last eight meetings in the series had been decided in overtime.