LOUISVILLE — Notre Dame's 67-65 double-overtime victory Saturday at Louisville was no luck of the Irish.
More like the pluck of the Irish, along with U of L's late-game failure to execute in the KFC Yum Center.
"What a great college basketball game," Notre Dame Coach Mike Brey said. "I am certainly thrilled for our group. We saw a young team maybe grow up before our very eyes today at Louisville. Great job controlling the tempo, and I thought we did a great job defending and rebounding."
Notre Dame (10-6, 2-1 Big East) won its first game of the season away from home.
The Irish had lost seven consecutive games at U of L. The last win came in Freedom Hall more than a half-century ago, 61-53 on Dec. 20, 1958.
Overtimes are almost regulation in the series, though.
The teams have gone to extra time four games in a row, five of the last six and seven of 11. U of L had won all but one of the others.
The Fighting Irish got double-doubles from Jack Cooley (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Scott Martin (11 and 10). Jerian Grant added 17 points and Eric Atkins had 15 points and eight rebounds.
No. 11 U of L (13-3, 1-2) has lost three of its last four.
"We lost the game mentally and from the foul line," Coach Rick Pitino said.
Notre Dame shot 22-for-29 from the free-throw line (10-for-13 in the overtimes) to U of L's 17-for-27.
Two mental lapses came in the last minute of regulation.
Chane Behanan gave U of L a 50-47 lead, sinking two free throws with 52 seconds left. The Cards called a time-out to set their defense.
"We wanted to do two things," Pitino said. "Not let them attempt a three. Then, when we had the ball back, leading one, we said 'anything but an offensive foul.' And we did them both."
Atkins, on the right wing, stepped back and nailed a game-tying three-pointer with 27 seconds left.
After a timeout with six seconds left, Peyton Siva tried to drive past Martin but was called for a charge with 1.3 seconds left.
The turnover was one of 18 committed by the Cardinals. Notre Dame had 11, and finished with a 16-9 advantage in points off turnovers.
Behanan and Kyle Kuric led U of L with identical double-doubles of 17 points and 10 rebounds. Gorgui Dieng had 11 points and seven boards before fouling out in the first overtime. Siva had eight points and five assists.
Russ Smith, averaging 20 points over the previous seven games, shot 1-for-9 and scored three.
Atkins also forced the second overtime. After missing a free throw, he knocked down the second with 3.7 seconds left to tie at 58.
U of L was unable to get off another shot.
In the second overtime, Kuric broke a 61-all tie, making two free throws at 1:25.
Atkins went up and under against Behanan to tie with 59 seconds to play.
An offensive foul gave the ball back to the Irish.
Atkins, dribbling near half-court, blew by Russ Smith's Ole! swipe attempt and sank a jumper from the free-throw line with 15 seconds left.
"Russ Smith's reach at the end of the game was bizarre, to say the least," Pitino said.
"Anybody can have an off night. But you can't play defense four or five times in a game. I told him 'just stay solid, just stay solid.' But to reach around like that — you just try to make a big play because you're not shooting well. You can't do that. You have to play solid, in your stance. But he learned a valuable lesson. You hate to take a second home loss to take a valuable lesson."
Smith took the result hard.
"I don't know why I did that, I honestly don't know," he said softly. "I just want to apologize for that."
Still, Louisville had a chance to tie again. Siva took the ball to Cooley in the lane, only to have Martin switch on defense and block the shot.
"I was trying to get the ball up and they blocked the shot," Siva said. "It was just one of those games — you thought you would get a call and didn't."
Atkins added two free throws at :4.9, and U of L's Rakeem Buckles scored on a put-back at the buzzer.