Xavier edges Notre Dame 67-63 in NCAA 2nd round
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) Tu Holloway banked in the go-ahead shot over Jack Cooley with 21.3 seconds left, helping Xavier rally to beat Notre Dame 67-63 on Friday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Holloway finished with 25 points on 10-for-15 shooting, including a flurry that helped the 10th-seeded Musketeers (22-12) rally from a 10-point second-half deficit against the seventh-seeded Fighting Irish (22-12). His final points came when he rounded a screen from Kenny Frease and sent a high-arcing shot over Cooley's outstretched arm for the 64-63 lead.
After a free throw from Dezmine Wells pushed the lead to two, Notre Dame's Eric Atkins drew a blocking foul to get to the line with 2.8 seconds left. He swished the first free throw, but an official ruled that Jerian Grant left his position behind the 3-point arc too early as he ran in for a rebound, giving the ball back to Xavier.
The same unusual call was made at a critical moment of top-seeded Syracuse's 72-65 victory over UNC Asheville during the second round of the East Regional on Thursday.
On the ensuing inbounds pass, Pat Connaughton was whistled for an intentional foul when he grabbed Wells' jersey trying to deny him the ball. Wells knocked down both free throws to push the lead to four with 2.8 seconds still on the clock to ensure the victory.
Wells finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds for Xavier, which advanced to Sunday's third round. The Musketeers will face Lehigh, which pulled one of two shockers by No. 15 seeds Friday in stunning second-seeded Duke 75-70 in the Blue Devils' home state and in an arena where they had never lost.
Cooley finished with 18 points on 8-for-8 shooting for the Fighting Irish, who couldn't slow Holloway in the second half. Notre Dame led 48-38 on Atkins' 3-pointer with 12:20 left, but Xavier answered with nine straight points to get back in it. At one point, Holloway scored 11 of his team's 17 points to give the Musketeers a 59-58 lead with 3:43 left.
Grant put the Fighting Irish back up with another 3 with 1:01 left to beat the shot clock, but Mark Lyons scored on the left baseline on the next possession to set up Holloway's go-ahead score.
Holloway scored 17 points in the second half.