Man, that was close.
Kentucky overcame it’s largest halftime deficit at home in school history (48-26) to cut Notre Dame’s lead to just one point with under a minute to go. After forcing the Irish to a shot-clock violation, the Cats had 11 seconds to take the lead, but forward Olivier Sarr just barely missed a baseline jumper at the buzzer.
Just the fact that Kentucky got within one possession of a win, however, is incredible considering the terrible first half that they played. Notre Dame went into halftime shooting 59% from the floor including 6/11 from three and 10/11 from the free throw line, as Kentucky could not put together any series of defensive stops.
Meanwhile on offense, the Cats were 41% from the floor including 1/13 from three. They also had seven turnovers in which Notre Dame scored 15 points off of. It was a historically bad half in which UK looked to be hitting rock bottom.
Then in the second half, a light-switch labeled “intensity” was flipped on as the Cats were all over the floor playing with a lot of effort. With 8:06 to play in the game, Kentucky was in the midst of a 14-0 run that stretched over 7:29 minutes as they completely flustered Notre Dame defensively. By the final buzzer, the Irish finished 7/25 shooting from the floor in the second half including 1/10 from three and just two assists.
Kentucky went 4/10 from three and forced 12 Irish turnovers in the half which led to some important points, but just could not get over the hump on the final play.
Olivier Sarr had a season-high 22 points on 11/16 shooting from the floor and added seven rebounds. Freshman Terrence Clarke, who played most of the game at point guard, finished with 14 points on 6/13 shooting. Both teams by the end tied at 44% shooting from the field, which really shows just how close it was by the end of the game.
The Cats now fall to 1-4 on the season for only the second time in school history, but the last 20 minutes showed their may just be light at the end of the tunnel.