"It's hard to put how tough each loss is," Quinn said. "It's hard to put a number on it. But this one is definitely up there."
"We keep making plays down the stretch to give us a chance," Falls said. "I guess we just need a sustained effort the entire game. We're not quite there."
Key plays made down the stretch by the Hoyas and missed opportunities for the Irish once again sunk them as Notre Dame dropped another Big East game 85-82 to Georgetown. The Irish are now 1-5 in the league and 10-7 overall. A key stat in the contest was that in 50 minutes of action, the Notre Dame never had a lead. The Irish fought tough and nail but could not get over that hump. Unfortunately, that has been the story for this team all season long.
"You've heard my tune here before," head coach Mike Brey said. "I sound like a broken record. I don't think we played well early in the game. A lot of that was Georgetown. They are a great basketball team."
Falls made an incredible play to send the game into the first overtime. With Notre Dame trailing 69-65 and less than five seconds left, the junior took an inbound pass under the Irish's basket and nailed a three-pointer. The bonus: Georgetown's Brandon Bowman inexplicably fouled Falls on the shot. Falls, who finished the game with 18 points, hit the free throw to give Notre Dame a second life.
"We executed an out-of-bounds set real well," Brey said. "We called it on the fly. That was a big play there. We throw the damn thing in and the whole crowd goes nuts. People maybe came back to their seats. Colin does a good job of drawing fouls like that. He's crafty."
In the first overtime, the Irish gave themselves a chance to win. After forcing the Hoyas into a shot clock violation with 1.8 second left and the game tied at 76, Rob Kurz lofted a home run pass the length of the floor that somehow ended up in the hands of Quinn. The senior, who finished the game with 26 points and 10 assists, missed a short shot that could have given Notre Dame their second Big East win.
"Rob threw it and I was able to get it in deep," Quinn said. "I got a good look. I think I should have made that shot."
"I'm proud that we gave ourselves a chance to win," Brey said. "I think we have to win it on Quinn's layup. We have to try to steal it there."
The second overtime saw Georgetown (13-4, 4-2 in the Big East) jump out to a four-point lead and hold on once again for dear life. Notre Dame had a chance to tie it at the end but Quinn, Kurz and freshman Kyle McAlarney could not make the tying three-pointer in the final ten seconds of play. For the Hoyas, it was a satisfying win after their upset victory over Duke last Saturday afternoon.
"Oh man, that game seems like it was ten days ago," Georgetown head coach John Thompson III said about the Duke win. "We're back in league play. One of the things I told our guys was that's a Big East road game. It's going to go back and forth. It's a heavyweight fight. To come away with a win on the road in double overtime in a place where we haven't won in a long time, it's extremely important."
Russell Carter saw 34 minutes of action after only seeing a combined five the past two ballgames. He did not disappoint. The sophomore had only eight points and four rebounds but provided an energy boost for the team in the second half when the Hoyas were trying to pull away. Torin Francis ended up with nine points and 12 rebounds but fouled out late in the second half. Kurz had another solid outing, netting 14 points and hauling down seven rebounds in 43 minutes of play.
For the Hoyas, five players scored in double figures, led by Darrel Owens and Roy Hibbert's 18 points apiece. Hibbert, who stands 7'2", was a problem for the Irish as he also grabbed 13 rebounds. Ashanti Cook chipped in with 15 points while Jeff Green had 12 and Jonathan Wallace added 10.
The first half saw Notre Dame struggle with their shooting and Georgetown knocking down some key three-point baskets. The Irish shot just 33 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes of action. The Hoyas shot 50 percent from behind the arc in the first half, including a long distance bomb from Owens to give Georgetown their largest lead of the half at 29-14.
The Irish fought back, getting crucial three-pointers from Falls, Kurz and Quinn to spearhead a 14-5 run to cut the Hoya lead to 34-28. Owens, who had eight points in the first half, finished off the scoring before intermission with two made free throws to give Georgetown a 36-28 halftime advantage. To Notre Dame's credit, they held the Hoyas leading scorer, Bowman, to zero points in the half and just eight for the ball game.