- Wednesday, March 25 2009 -
NIT (at South Bend, IN)
Kentucky - 67 (Head Coach: Billy Gillispie) - [Final Unranked by AP]
|A. J. Stewart||3||1||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2|
Notre Dame - 77 (Head Coach: Mike Brey) - [Unranked]
Halftime Score: Notre Dame 34, Kentucky 26
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Creighton 65 - 63|||||Morehead 75 - 59|
Game Writeup - Written by Matt May; Courtesy of The Cats Pause, (All Rights Reserved)
Notre Dame ends UK's season
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Kentucky's season was anything but a shining testament to the program's glorious history. Fitting then it ended a few jump shots away from one of college sports' shiniest icons, the Golden Dome.
The Cats were banished to the offseason by a sea of open three-pointers and unforced errors, dropping a 77-67 decision to Notre Dame in the NIT quarterfinals. The defeat brings a turbulent season to a merciful end but also puts the afterburners on what could be a tumultuous off-season.
Notre Dame cashed 12 three-pointers and turned a myriad of UK turnovers into a 17-point second half lead and then held on as the Cats mounted a furious rally. UK cut the deficit to 67-62 with 2:43 remaining and had a chance to draw closer but Perry Stevenson had a pass sail through his hands and out of bounds to kill the Cats' momentum and put the game out of reach.
All eyes now turn to UK coach Billy Gillispie's future. The second-year coach has been rumored to perhaps be leaving Lexington but UK officials have declined to comment about the situation until after the final game. That time has certainly come.
The first encompassed all of the issues the Cats have faced this season, from poor three-point shooting defense, careless turnovers and long stretches where they just could not put the ball in the basket. In one particularly brutal sequence, Kevin Galloway threw a pass to a reporter on press row as Jodie Meeks cut, resulting in a Jonathan Peoples three on the other end. Two possessions later Perry Stevenson had a pass go off his face, leading to a triple for Ryan Ayers on the other end. The very next time down the floor Galloway turned it over again and Ayers cashed another bomb to give the Irish a 26-18 lead.
The Cats played the entire second half without starter Ramon Harris, who took a bump in the first half. Harris suffered a mild concussion and never returned to the bench after the break, yet another injury in a year full of medical issues for the junior forward.
Perry Stevenson tries to cut off Notre Dame guard Kyle McAlarney
Michael Porter tries to regain possession in front of Tory Jackson
Luke Harangody scored 30 points to close out Kentucky's season