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Cormac Ryan scores a career-high 29 points, including seven 3-pointers in the Irish upset victory over 6-seeded Alabama.
SAN DIEGO — Notre Dame relied on the lights-out shooting of Cormac Ryan to earn an upset victory over the 6-seeded Alabama Crimson Tide, 78-64, Friday afternoon at Viejas Arena. The 11-seeded Irish are now headed to the Round of 32 for the first time since 2017.
The big question surrounding this game was whether or not Notre Dame’s seven-man rotation could keep up with the depth of the Run & Gun Crimson Tide.
The Irish are coming off a double-overtime thriller Wednesday night when they defeated Rutgers in a First Four matchup.
First Four: Double-OT Thriller
The game was immediately followed by late nights and plane flights which put all eyes on Notre Dame’s energy heading into Friday.
The Irish showed no signs of fatigue as they battled with Alabama from the opening tip.
The first-half alone produced 10 lead changes and ended with Notre Dame holding a 5-point advantage at halftime. The Irish turned it up a notch, coming out of the break as they extended their lead to double-figures and never looked back.
Anytime the Tide threatened to cut into the lead, Notre Dame had an answer.
Ryan led all scorers with 29 points, including seven 3-pointers. This kid went 10-13 from the floor and was absolutely unstoppable.
Paul Atkinson Jr. did a little bit of everything as he accounted for 13-points, 8-rebounds, 3-assists, 4-steals and one block. The 6’9 grad transfer has solidified himself as the heartbeat of this team during his lone season in South Bend.
Freshman star, Blake Wesley, score 18-points shooting an efficient 57% from the field.
I don’t know what to make of this Irish team. I’ve got them reaching the Sweet-16 in my bracket. However, they appear to have the same mojo UCLA had a season ago when they made a run from the First Four to the Final Four.
Maybe it’s the Irish luck. Or perhaps it’s the Irish whiskey. Whatever it is, it’s evident this Irish hoops squad is destined for a memorable March.
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