SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Notre Dame coach Mike Brey was feeling
confident with a three-point lead and Rob Kurz, an 87 percent free
throw shooter, on the line for a 1-and-1.
Just in case, though, he quietly called the other four Irish
"I told them if that thing comes off, be ready, and even double
the ball. Make them make one pass, because if you make them make a
pass by then it's going to be out of position," Brey said.
West Virginia's Frank Young didn't make a pass, but he didn't
get off a shot, either, as Russell Carter ran beside him down the
right side of the floor and the Fighting Irish (Unranked ESPN/USA Today; No. 22 AP) held on
for a 61-58 victory the 21st-ranked Mountaineers on Tuesday night.
"It's a three-dribble play and he's got to let it go, but he
hasn't been in many situations like that," West Virginia coach
John Beilein said. "He's got to get it off before then, but he
just misjudged the clock."
Carter led the Irish (14-2, 2-1 Big East) with 19 points, with
all but two of his baskets coming on an array of dunks.
"I was surprised I got that many dunks. There for a second I
thought I was Shaq," he said.
But Brey said Carter was smart to go inside when his outside
shots weren't falling.
Colin Falls hit a 3-pointer with 5 minutes to go to give the
Irish a 55-45 lead. But two air balls by Carter, a bad pass by Zach
Hillesland and another Irish turnover allowed the Mountaineers to
cut the lead to 55-53 on a 3-pointer by Darris Nichols.
The Irish, who regularly folded late in games last season,
didn't give up. Instead Luke Harangody made two free throws and
Carter hit a baseline jumper as the Irish extended the lead to six
The Mountaineers cut it to 61-58 on a 3-pointer by Young with 5
Brey said the Irish showed they are tougher than last season.
"I think this group is more physically tough, but they're also
more mentally tough," he said. "This is a more mentally tough
group. I hate to compare teams, but they are."
Falls scored 14 points and Harangody added 11 for the Irish, who
shot 53.5 percent, which matched a season-high against West
Alex Ruoff led West Virginia (13-2, 3-1 Big East) with 14 points
and Young added 13. The Mountaineers shot just 37.7 percent, their
second-worst outing this season.
"I thought we had great shots and if we would have made a
couple more shots, maybe we would have come out of here with a
win," Beilein said.
The Mountaineers, who had trailed for only four minutes in their
first three Big East games, trailed for all but 17 seconds in this
one. Brey said he got on the Irish for hanging their heads in the
"I don't know if they thought they should have won by 15 or
whatever," he said. "I know they have real high expectations, and
that's a good thing. But I tried to tell them, 'We're in league
play now. We'll take them any way we can get them."